Transform Scotland’s policy officer, Marie Ferdelman, reports on a selection of our recent campaigning activities.
ScotRail briefing session: What to expect from the upcoming change in arrangements
On Thursday last week, we held our ScotRail briefing session. Scott Prentice, the Head of Development at ScotRail, spoke at the event; alongside our rail spokesperson Paul Tetlaw.
The purpose of this session was to provide space to discuss what changes we might expect to see after the re-nationalisation of Scotland’s Railways, which will take place on 1 April.
It was a successful event. Paul Tetlaw first gave an overview of rail, reiterating points made in a recent article he wrote for Transform: “Scotland’s Railways in 2022”. For instance, Paul raised the importance of maintaining focus on Anglo-Scottish routes and making sure that plans get back underway to upgrade both the East Coast and West Coast Rail Lines to ensure modal shift on these journeys.
Scott Prentice then presented on ScotRail more specifically. He discussed the significant impacts that the change in contract structure – which is to become more streamlined – will have in allowing ScotRail to improve their systems and services. He also talked about the difficulties that might be faced during this change, and the importance of expectation management and public perception to the shift in ownership of Scotland’s rail franchise.
After the question and answer session, where our members were offered the chance to ask Paul and Scott about their presentations, we rounded off the event.
In his conclusion, Paul reminded the audience that the important Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 consultation is currently open until 15 April, and encouraged everyone to respond. So here is another reminder for those of you reading this. Please remember to respond!
Active Travel Parliamentary Debate
Funding secured for Active Travel, now time to secure engagement from those with the powers to spend it.
Transform sent a parliamentary briefing to all Members of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 17 March, ahead of the ‘Delivering on Active Travel Commitments’ debate, which was led by Scottish Government Minister for Active Travel Patrick Harvie MSP.
In our briefing paper, we welcomed the commitment made by the Scottish Government to invest at least £320 million, or 10% of the transport budget, in active travel by 2024-25. However, argued that in order to achieve the needed transformational and fast-pace change, that strong leadership from our Ministers and senior civil servants must now ensue. Specifically, by supporting and driving forward the agenda with Local Authorities by giving them the necessary tools to implement change.
In his closing statements at the debate, Patrick Harvie MSP, noted:
“We need to respond to some of the constructive challenges that have been put by the Transform Scotland briefing. It is clear that Transform Scotland welcomes what we are doing and is constructively challenging us to go further. Rather than simply complaining that there are specific examples that people do not like in their own neighbourhood, that is the kind of engagement that will make the Scottish Government’s programme on delivering active travel better.”
Cross-Party Group on Sustainable Transport, second meeting of 2022
On February 24, Transform hosted the second CPG on Sustainable Transport meeting held in 2022. At this meeting, Richard Riley, a Senior Principal Consultant at Element Energy, spoke to the group about the role of demand management in meeting Scotland’s 20% car traffic reduction target.
- The importance of both technology and behaviour change to achieving decarbonisation.
- The necessity of demand reduction in achieving decarbonisation.
- What ‘good’ policy in demand management should look like.
Afterwhich, a lively question and answer session ensued, chaired by CPG convenor Graham Simpson MSP. Questions ranged from the importance of equality and equity in policy development, to funding distribution challenges, to the necessity of better promoting public transport.
If you or your organisation are interested in attending future meetings and/or becoming members of the CPG on Sustainable Transport, then you can do so by contacting us here. The next session is scheduled for 24 May from 18:00-19:00.
Happy 7th birthday Transform Creative
Transform Creative turned 7 on the 2nd of March!
When I asked Elspeth Wray, the Head of Enterprise at Transform Scotland, what her highlights have been over the past year, she said that winning the D&AD Pencil award for their work on the Environmental Port Index was definitely up there.
However, pencils aside, Elspeth also noted that the incredibly talented team that are now working together at Transform Creative has been the real highlight. (Very diplomatic!)