Three-quarters of voters in Scotland’s capital, more than 133,000 people, were against the £2 daily charge plan. Only 45,000 people supported the proposals.
Council executives in the city have confirmed that plans to introduce a charging scheme are now ‘dead and buried’.
Experts are predicting the result will lead to a domino effect on the other road pricing projects the Government is backing.
Councillor Donald Anderson, leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: ‘The congestion charge will not now be introduced in the city. We advocated the scheme because we thought congestion charging in the best interests of the city but we will respect the choice made by Edinburgh residents. The idea is now dead and buried for Edinburgh but we are as committed as ever to further improving our city’s transport.’
Forum of Private Business chief executive Nick Goulding said: ‘FPB members had grave concerns about these fatally flawed proposals from the start. They feared they would have borne the brunt of this aggressive new tax.’
Planning chiefs in cities including Bristol, York, Leeds, Southampton, Manchester and Cardiff would have been awaiting the outcome with interest before deciding on their next move.
Lobby group Transport 2000 said the decision was a defeat ‘for those who could see a better future for the city from less traffic and better public transport’.
Director Stephen Joseph said: ‘This is a setback for Edinburgh but does not mean the end of city centre congestion charging as an idea. It does mean councils elsewhere will have to work harder to explain the benefits and allay the fears.’
But opposers to such schemes are hopeful the Edinburgh decision will go someway to killing off road pricing.
Welcoming the result, Association of British Drivers spokesman Nigel Humphries said: ‘This is a body blow to the Government’s road pricing plans.’