The Confederation of British Industry has estimated
that traffic congestion costs the British economy £15
billion each year. Pedestrians and cyclists are twice
as likely to be killed on the road in the UK than in
Sweden or the Netherlands.
Over one third (35 – 36%) of Scots do not have
access to a car. Without action, traffic levels in Scotland
will grow by 27% over the next 20 years. Cheap flights,
using untaxed fuel, are the fastest growing source of
greenhouse gases and are set to account for 10% of man-made
greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Current transport policy in Scotland is failing. As
our roads become more congested, the travelling public
find themselves with few reliable travel alternatives
to using their cars. Little has been done in recent
years to address the legacy of decades of under-investment
in public transport infrastructure and services. With
no solution in sight and very little money being made
available, our country is grinding to a halt. Our environment
is being damaged, people are being excluded, public
health is suffering, and the Scottish economy is being
stifled. Too often attempts to introduce greener transport
policies are blocked by the powerful car lobby.
The Scottish Green Party envisages a transport system
for Scotland that minimises environmental impact, meets
the basic transport needs of every member of society,
protects public health and serves a sustainable Scottish
economy. We believe that the solution lies in increased
investment in public transport infrastructure and services,
controlled wherever possible by the communities and
customers that use them. This would produce a transport
system geared towards the needs of passengers rather
than the profits of shareholders – one that would
provide convenient, reliable and affordable travel alternatives
to the car, allowing the car to be used in a more responsible
manner. Greens also propose measures to bring about
an overall reduction in demand for transport by supporting
local jobs and services. We want to see the real costs
of transport distributed more fairly and an increase
in the amount of money available for improving and providing
travel alternatives to the car. This will lead to sharp
reductions in traffic levels, congestion, social exclusion,
pollution and accidents, and to a transport system that
actually supports the Scottish economy
- We will work to have those transport matters currently
still the responsibility of Westminster devolved to
the Scottish Parliament. We will reduce road traffic
levels by 10% by 2010. We will ensure further decentralisation
of control over transport through the creation of
regional transport commissions, accountable to local
authorities, local communities and passengers. We
will establish a dedicated Scottish Transport Minister.
We will support the local development of community-owned
and organised transport projects and/or initiatives.
Local authorities will be placed under a greater obligation
to integrate their transport and land-use planning.
Walking and Cycling
- We will increase support and investment for walking
and cycling, including increased space and priority
for pedestrians, more segregated cycle facilities
and cycle priority routes. We will develop a comprehensive
national network of walking and cycle tracks and facilities,
including secure storage facilities at public transport
interchanges. We will ensure further development of
home zones (residential areas with reduced speed limits
and traffic calming) and safer routes to school initiatives,
to encourage walking, cycling, road safety and recreation
in residential areas.
- We will expand free and subsidised public transport
travel passes to ensure that all of those on low incomes
have their transport needs met. We will establish
and promote a national ticketing scheme, which will
allow the use of a ‘through-ticket’ for
journeys involving different forms of public transport.
We will invest in light rail or tram schemes for Scotland’s
cities and urban areas, and establish a network of
one-stop-shop information points providing the public
with timetable, route and fare details for the whole
- We will return the rail network to public ownership
through a not-for-profit, community-owned enterprise.
We will reopen important railway lines and links which
have been lost in the past, and create new rail links,
particularly to rural and less well served areas.
We will invest in a system of Scottish high speed
trains to replace flights to the south of England
and mainland Europe.
- We will resist any attempts to build new airports
in Scotland or the expansion of existing facilities,
and will put an end to late-night flights. Aviation
fuel tax will be imposed at a national level as well
as locally (with the exception of island flights)
to reflect the full environmental costs of air transport.
We will support a European Aviation emissions charge.
We will also support the maintenance of air links
to remote island communities where ferries are clearly
less feasible and/or seasonal due to weather conditions.
Roads and Car Travel
- We will completely halt all major trunk road building
in Scotland, freeing up money for other schemes. New
bypasses will be allowed only in the case of small
towns or villages which are severed by a major traffic
artery that is causing major social, environmental
and safety problems. We will ensure greater use of
vehicle related charges and taxes (such as congestion
charges, emissions charges and parking charges). We
support the development of, and conversion to, alternative
fuel vehicles. We will set targets for actual reduction
in national and local traffic levels rather than merely
a reduction in growth. We will abolish Vehicle Excise
Duty, which will be compensated for by an increase
in fuel tax, accompanied by grants to help those with
a special need to use their car (including many living
in rural areas). This will be tied to a requirement
that the cars used represent the most sustainable
travel choice available. We will introduce a national
third-party insurance scheme to compensate the victims
of uninsured drivers.
- We will encourage freight back onto rail and water
through investment in new infrastructure and support
grants. We will maximise the benefit of Scotland’s
good area to coastline ratio and canals by working
towards transferring the transport of bulky, non-urgent
freight onto ships. We will progressively decrease
the maximum permissible size and weight of lorries
allowed on certain roads.
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