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November Newsletter — Campaigns Update

Published 26 November 2020 by Matt McDonald

Image courtesy of ADL

Transform Scotland communications officer Matt McDonald reports on a selection of our recent campaigns activities.

Bus

Over the past month, we held two events to support bus use. 

On 17 November we hosted the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Cycling, Walking, and Buses. Keith Watson (Customer Development Director, Alexander Dennis Limited) spoke on the role of zero-emission buses in ‘Driving Scotland’s Green Recovery’, whilst Andy Hyde (Founder, Go Upstream) presented the work of ‘The Better Buses Project’, which is designing bus services that meet the needs of people with dementia.

On Thursday 19 November we welcomed our members to a videocall with speaker Mollie McGoran MSYP. Mollie presented on the topic of free bus travel for under 19s, a subject which the Scottish Government is currently consulting on. Mollie laid out the findings from the Scottish Youth Parliament’s ‘All Aboard’ campaign which included a survey of over 1,300 young people in Scotland. The survey found that lower fares were a key factor that would encourage young people to use bus more. 

During the Q&A members welcomed the policy in principle but expressed concerns around the framing of it as an environmental policy, instead arguing that it should be viewed as a socio-economic initiative. Members also expressed concern about the lack of evidence base. 

Green Recovery

We welcomed the Green Recovery report published by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee on 8 November. The report included recommendations to promote public transport, support bus manufacturing, invest in sustainable transport rather than new roads, invest in active travel and integrate transport with land-use planning

Commenting on the report, Transform director Colin Howden said:

“The Committee has done an excellent job of summarising the key actions that are required to ensure that transport can play a full part in ensuring a Green Recovery. We’re pleased to see many of the measures we recommended as part of our own evidence to the Committee being represented as part of the Committee’s report.”

Read our full response to the report here.

Infrastructure Investment Plan 

On 20 November we shared our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the ‘Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26’. Our policy officer Marie Ferdelman commented: 

“While the Draft IIP does set out a new sustainable investment hierarchy, the investment hierarchy is not reflected in the projects that are prioritised in the infrastructure investment plan. The draft IIP continues to implicitly support the Scottish Government’s multi-billion pound road building programme.”

Read our response in full here. 

We sent a joint letter to Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson with other national charities Paths for All, RSPB Scotland, Sustrans Scotland and WWF Scotland, to express ‘deep concern’ at the transport spending priorities set out in the Draft Plan. We are calling upon Scottish Ministers to urgently reprioritise capital expenditure priorities in the Plan in line with the Government’s Climate Emergency commitment.

Read the letter to the Cabinet Secretary in full here.