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Transform Scotland May Newsletter — Campaigns Update

Published 07 May 2020 by Transform Scotland

Recent SG capital expenditure has been biased towards high-carbon, and is scheduled to worsen further. Source: Scottish Parliament Information Centre. See Figure 13.

On 29 April, we published our response to Transport Scotland’s call for views on the Strategic Transport Projects Review ‘case for change’ report. Our full response is available here.

The Government’s transport capital spending over the last decade has been grotesquely skewed in favour of new road-building, leading to transport now being the largest source of climate emissions in Scotland. The figure below shows the extent to which future infrastructure spending has become skewed towards high-carbon projects.

In light of this, we submitted the following recommendations (for the full list, see our full response):

1. Flawed definition of ‘strategic transport projects’
The proposed definition effectively excludes investment on most local walking, cycling and public transport. Given the Climate Emergency, it’s essential that expenditure priorities be refocussed on low-carbon investment.

2. Outdated assumptions around transport & economy linkages
We recommend abandoning the use of outdated appraisal methodologies such as STAG which assume journey-time savings for private motorised vehicles result in inclusive economic growth.

3. Failure to model road traffic trends consistent with Net Zero carbon target
The road traffic growth projections (39% increase in distance travelled by 2037) are incompatible with the NTS2/STPR2 Priorities. Such forecasts cannot be used to justify more road-building projects.

4. No consideration given to economic instruments as part of demand management
Whilst we welcome demand management’s inclusion, we are dumbfounded at the lack of reference to economic instruments — especially given the Scottish Government’s inclusion of Workplace Parking Levy powers in the 2019 Transport Act.