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Union Connectivity Review fails to take serious approach to Climate Emergency

Published 10 March 2021 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has issued its initial views on the interim report of the Union Connectivity Review.

Chris Day, who prepared Transform’s evidence paper to the Review, commented:

“We have no argument with the interim report’s comments about rail. This includes faster, higher capacity passenger connections from HS2 to Scotland and North Wales, and consequently better freight capacity; and more capacity and faster journeys between Scotland, England and Wales.

“However, it goes on to say much the same about the road network, and specifically the A1 to Scotland. It seems that precisely nothing has been learned about induced demand. This ‘more of everything’ approach is well past its sell-by date.

“By floating dualling of A75 and cuts to Air Passenger Duty, it is very clear that the Union Connectivity Review has so far not taken a serious approach to the Climate Emergency, and makes a mockery of supposedly  ‘world-leading’ commitments to reducing carbon emissions.”

In Transform Scotland’s response to the Review’s call for evidence, we highlighted that there is no grounds in terms of travel demand for a fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland. There has been a 10% decline in ferry passenger traffic since 2008 (from 1,938,000 to 1,750,000). While CAA data shows a 20% increase in air passengers from 827,857 in 2008 to 989,610 in 2019, the overall result is that there has been a decline in the overall travel market between Scotland and Northern Ireland over the past decade. This period has also seen a reduction in travel origins/destinations, with the removal of ferry services to Northern Ireland from Stranraer and Troon, and air services from Dundee and Prestwick.