Consultation Digest (National) Issue 1, 13 November 2020: A few days left to respond to the Infrastructure Investment Plan

Welcome to the first Go Bike National Consultation Digest, written by Jim Densham, a monthly round up of current and forthcoming consultations from Scotland and the UK. Because of Covid there was a big pause in usual government work over the spring and summer, but since September there has been a flurry of consultations. This is likely to continue into the new year as the SNP government tries to get as much work done as possible before parliament is dissolved in late March and campaigning properly kicks off for the Holyrood 2021 elections.

Section 1: Current Consultations

(in date order for responses)

1.1: Scottish Government – draft Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP)

Government is consulting on a new 5-year Infrastructure Investment Plan to 2025/26. It’s very different in style from the current plan which was all about big projects and city connections, including the Queensferry Bridge, A9 dualling and M8/M73/M74 works.

This time Government has decided to tell a different story – one about grouping their infrastructure projects around themes of reducing emissions, inclusive economic growth, and building resilient and sustainable places. The story may sound different but many of the words are still the same! Plans remain for huge road infrastructure projects, totally incompatible with a climate emergency. These will lock in high carbon construction work and travel choices for decades to come. Government needs to realise that its new investment hierarchy needs to be used to reset existing plans not just influence future ones.

The IIP also includes no change to the government’s Programme for Government commitment for £100m for active travel over the next 5 years. As I wrote in a Cycling UK blog, this will in reality be a real terms cut in funding over the period, and, with changes to council match funding requirements, would see less spending on walking and cycling overall.

Transform Scotland has provided an excellent analysis of the IIP, and I recommend that anyone wanting to respond to the consultation looks at their presentation first. But hurry, only a few days left….

Closes 19 November 2020

1.2: Transport Scotland – Road Safety Framework

The new Road Safety Framework consultation to 2030 proposes that Scotland should have the best road safety record in the world by 2030 and a ‘Vision Zero’ for 2050. I wrote more detail about this consultation in my introductory blog last week and provided a link to a Cycling UK in Scotland guide to the consultation.

Closes 1 December 2020

1.3: *NEW* Transport Scotland – Free Bus Travel for under 19s

This is a short consultation asking if concessionary bus fares should be extended for people resident in Scotland aged under 19. This is a good move at a national level and perhaps a start towards localised free bus travel for everyone which could be transformatory for our streets and reduce transport poverty. See the Free Our City campaign from our sister group, Get Glasgow Moving.

Closes 7 December 2020

1.4: *NEW* Scottish Government – Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 – a draft new air quality strategy for Scotland

Consultation on a draft new air quality strategy for Scotland, taking into account the recommendations arising from the independent review of the Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy.

Closes 22 January 2021

Section 2: Forthcoming Consultations

2.1: Scottish Government – Permitted Development Rights (phase 2)

The first phase of the Scottish Government’s consultation on Permitted Development Rights closed this week. The big thing in that for active travel was the proposal to allow permitted development rights to cover cycle storage sheds in front gardens, back courts of flats, on the streets (cycle hangers), etc. Phase 2 of the consultation is due in the new year and will cover permitted development rights for e-bike charging points.

2.2: Scottish Parliament – Revised Climate Change Plan

We expect the Scottish Government to lay its revised Climate Change Plan in the Scottish Parliament in early December. Parliament’s Environment Climate Change and Land Reform Committee are then likely to coordinate the hearing of evidence on the revised plan. This parliamentary procedure will need to be squeezed in before Parliament is dissolved at the end of March for the election.

The revised Climate Change Plan will not be a full revision of the current plan but, instead, provide extra policies designed to achieve strengthened targets. Transport is the sector contributing the most emissions of any sector in Scotland and has not cut its emissions in 30 years. Policies are desperately needed to reduce private vehicle us, boost public transport and of course encourage more people to take short everyday journeys by foot or cycle.

2.3: Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2)

It has been difficult to keep up to speed with progress of the Scottish Government’s STPR2 through 2020 because of Covid disrupting the timetable. The new year is likely to see more work and potentially further consultation on the options – watch this space. See here for more information and links to previous documents.

More to come in December!