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New transport strategy continues 20 years of prevarication on demand management from Scottish governments

Published 29 October 2019 by Transform Scotland

We have published our response to the Scottish Government’s National Transport Strategy consultation (which closed for comments on 23 October).

While we welcome the Government’s recognition that demand management must play a central role in the Scottish Government’s transport policy, we are critical of the continued prevarication from Scottish Ministers in taking concrete action on the topic.

Transform’s director Colin Howden said:

“Despite stating that not taking action on demand management is “no longer an option”, the draft Strategy fails to offer any concrete action on demand management, offering only the pathetic concession of a “conversation” on the matter. This is a matter which has been under active consideration by Scottish administrations for over 20 years, yet we still face prevarication from Scottish Ministers on this matter. This inaction is not acceptable in the context of the Climate Emergency.

“The recent Parliamentary debates over the Workplace Parking Levy proposals in the Transport Bill demonstrated the grossly uninformed, and often deliberately misleading, nature of debate about the price of transport and its external costs. The Scottish Ministers failed to coherently argue the case on this matter, instead relying on the excuse that the WPL powers are a matter for the Local Authorities to promote.

“In order to make the case for the use of economic instruments, including Workplace Parking Levy, as demand management measures, the Scottish Ministers will, amongst other things, need to articulate the external costs of transport so that transport pricing decisions can be taken on the basis of ‘polluter pays’ and the true costs to society.”

We recommend that a programme of assistance to Local Authorities in delivering road traffic demand management measures be added to the NTS2 Delivery Plan.

Transform is also a signatory to a joint response with seven other sustainable transport organisations calling for the Scottish Ministers to phase out new road-building as a clear and unambiguous response to the Climate Emergency.