Cut fuel bills and make homes warmer by introducing a National Homes Insulation Programme
Encourage more use of the railways by opening more lines and stations
Support a national concessionary fare scheme on all public transport for pensioners and disabled people
Abolish the tolls on the Skye Bridge
Seek to ensure affordable air and sea links for island communities
Establish national parks in Scotland
Set targets to increase recycling by the public and private sectors
Scotland has some of the most beautiful, unspoiled and uncongested countryside in Europe, a precious heritage which we need to protect. We must also counter the growing threats to our environment. Pollution affects our cities and our rivers and seas. With our harsh climate, we need to consume a great deal of energy but we waste far too much of it. Our public transport systems are hopelessly inadequate, leaving many Scots with no alternative to their cars.
Many environmental problems are global. The new Executive and Parliament must ensure that Scotland plays an active role in shaping long-sighted international policies to protect the planet.
The new Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to make Scotland a much more environmentally conscious nation. Liberal Democrats will strive for sustainability in all our policies, recognising that environmentally friendly policies save money and are essential to the long term good of our people.
Cut fuel bills and make homes warmer by introducing a National Homes Insulation Programme. We aim to increase provision of high-standard insulation to a level of 50,000 households a year concentrating on those with lower incomes. We would impose a duty on energy suppliers to offer energy savings schemes to their customers and insist that organisations which apply for public funding have energy efficiency plans. We would also require new homes to meet tough insulation standards. Our policies would not only help the poor but also create 5,000 new jobs.
Promote renewable energy. Use the Scottish Renewable Obligation to promote the development of wind power wave power small scale biomass and hydro schemes and waste-to-energy schemes.
Work to improve all forms of public transport.
Boost the railways. We will support the extension of electrified main railway lines and the re-opening of old stations and lines where practical, such as the Waverley link with the Borders. We want to see appropriate forms of light railway or metro systems in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Wish to reduce dependence on cars. We will reserve more road space for buses and cycles and create a first class travel information service for Scottish public transport. We will support franchising arrangements to create high quality services comprising park-and-ride, terminal facilities and attractive transport options into city centres.
Support more pedestrian zones, safe cycling routes and traffic calming schemes.
Work towards ensuring that money raised from traffic fines and charges is earmarked for improving public transport and give the power to local authorities to introduce road-pricing schemes and tax non-residential parking.
Support a national concessionary fare scheme on all public transport for pensioners and disabled people.
Set up regional transport partnerships and passenger transport executives.
These will aim to develop transport strategy in each area. We will give local authorities the power to regulate bus services and end wasteful bus wars between rival companies.
Improve rural and island transport
We recognise that the car is likely to remain an essential part of rural living.
Encourage free long-stay parking at rural transfer points and fast, reliable bus and train links from them.
Abolish the tolls on the Skye Bridge.
Seek to ensure affordable air and sea links for island communities.
We will retain Caledonian MacBrayne in public ownership and develop a long-term investment strategy for it. We favour new purpose built vessels for the lifeline services to the Northern Isles, when the existing franchise ends in 2002.
Continue to press the UK Government to seek EU derogations from fuel duty for Scotland's remoter areas. At a UK level abolish vehicle excise duty for cars up to 1,600 cc. Studies show that most rural motorists with smaller cars will still be better off.
Encourage freight onto trains and ships and off the roads. We also support plans for new passenger and freight rail links from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness airports. We would seek to revive Scotland's maritime businesses by encouraging the development of direct freight links from Scottish ports to Europe.
A framework for a better environment
Liberal Democrats have long practised partnership politics. On environmental issues, which have very long-term consequences and which cross so many geographical and political boundaries, there is a particular need to establish a consensus and to consult as widely as possible. It is also important that the present generation sets itself strict targets to protect future generations.
Establish a Ministry of Environment and Transport under the scrutiny of an Environment Committee of Parliament.
This will be for all plans, policies and programmes of governments. We will aim for steadily improving standards for water and air quality. We want to reduce derelict brownfield sites and increase wildlife and fish stocks.
Establish national parks in Scotland. They will aim to protect wildlife and keep a balance between environmental and community needs. Some national park board members would be elected directly by the local community. We will strengthen wildlife protection and fight wildlife crime.
Keep Scotland's rivers and beaches clean. We want all Scotland's beaches to meet clean water standards by 2005 and to establish a Scottish Coasts and Firths Action Plan to keep the coastline and the sea clean. We shall be vigilant against oil pollution. We will press for the establishment of marine environmental high risk areas, from which ships should be re-routed.
Set strict targets for water authorities to reduce leaks.
Protect the local environment.
Encourage local environmental task forces run by local authorities to tackle eyesores, litter, graffiti, dog mess and poor rubbish collection systems.
Set targets to increase recycling by the public and private sectors. We aim to eliminate the use of landfill for industrial waste within 40 years.
Press the EU for clear labelling regulations.
Consumers should be able to choose eco-friendly and energy efficient products. Ihere should also be clear labelling and rigorous safety testing of genetically modified food. We support a 5 year moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops to allow for proper evaluation of any dangers.