Publication - Strategy/plan

Edinburgh agglomeration: noise action plan

Published: 31 Jul 2014
Environment and Forestry Directorate
Part of:
Environment and climate change

This plan is one in a suite of six noise action plans produced under the terms of the Environmental Noise Directive (END).

Edinburgh agglomeration: noise action plan
6. Description of Agglomeration - Edinburgh

6. Description of Agglomeration - Edinburgh

6.1 Description of the Edinburgh Agglomeration

Edinburgh is the Capital city of Scotland with a population of approximately 477,000. It is a university city, the locus for much employment in the surrounding region and a tourist centre. It is estimated that the non-residential population of Edinburgh increases by 60,000 commuters and, during term time, by 10,000 students. It is further estimated that at the peak of the tourist season the population is increased by some 400,000 tourists.

The agglomeration area is approximately 261 km 2 with approximately 222,000 households. It has an airport which lies just outside the agglomeration boundary, a seaport at Leith, and two major rail stations in the city centre. The city is bounded by Green Belt.

The biggest local authority within the agglomeration is the City of Edinburgh Council. A small part of Midlothian Council and a small part of East Lothian Council also fall within the agglomeration boundary. For the purposes of Strategic Noise mapping the agglomeration includes a 2 km buffer. The Edinburgh agglomeration and buffer area are shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Edinburgh Agglomeration

Figure 3: Edinburgh Agglomeration

Scottish Transport statistics (2011) show that there are approximately 1500km of roads and 400 bridges within the agglomeration. There are 165,800 licensed private and light goods vehicles in the city. The 2001 Census showed that 40% of households had no access to a car and the 2011 Census shows that 42% of these households had no access to a car in 2010, perhaps indicating that the previous trend of increasing car dependency may have been halted or even slightly reversed.

The most significant imminent changes to the noise climate in the Edinburgh agglomeration will be the development of the Edinburgh tram system, a new local development plan that includes new housing developments of 2,000 houses in the west of Edinburgh and 1,000 houses in south-east Edinburgh. The major housing developments planned for Edinburgh waterfront have been partly reallocated for business and industry. These changes all occur within the agglomeration. A further two housing developments are planned at Shawfair and Wallyford which lie just outside the boundary of the agglomeration but within the study area. The new developments amount to a population increase of approximately 55,000.

6.2 Policies

A new local development plan is currently being considered by the Council. It includes a section on Pollution, Water and Air Quality and extends to noise if a development is likely to have implications for health.

A new Local Transport Strategy is also being developed for 2014 - 2019 and will account for traffic noise to whatever extent necessary.