Consultation Digest (National) Issue 10, 28 Jan 2022: The one with the carrots

In my nearly 20 years of policy work, I’ve never known a time where there have been so many major consultations live at the same time. It’s time to get busy – plus there’s the local elections on 5 May, now less than 100 days away.

The machinery of government has been churning out the consultations at a frightening rate but thankfully, when viewed as a whole, they all hang together well and are, in general, moving Scotland in a positive direction. Much of what we see in the consultations on NPF4, STPR2 and the new Route Map are all driving (pardon the pun) towards meeting climate targets and enabling cycling and active travel.

These consultations package up many of the same policies and commitments, which, when developed, could enable and encourage people to cycle, walk or wheel rather than jumping in the car. These positive motivators to change the nation’s behaviour, or ‘carrots’, are plentiful but they need to be developed by government and grown by local councils.

As we gear up to the local elections we should bear in mind that many councils aren’t as bought into this agenda as they need to be. The pre-election period is therefore a huge opportunity to tell councils, Councillors, parties and candidates that the future is one with low-carbon transport and that they need to get behind the government initiatives. Councils are the ones who will deliver much of this at the local level so its time for them to step up.

This week we also had news of Minister for Transport Graeme Dey’s resignation because of ill health. We wish him well and a speedy recovery. Jenny Gilruth MSP has been moved within the Scottish Government to take up this important post. Congratulations to her.

One of the jobs for the new Transport Minister will be to get her head around all the live consultations – just like the rest of us!

Section 1: Current Consultations

(in date order for responses)

1.1: Scottish Government – NHS Scotland climate emergency and sustainability strategy 2022 to 2026 – draft

The Scottish Government and NHS Assure have developed a draft Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy 2022 to 2026 for NHS Scotland.

I haven’t looked through this yet but there must be opportunities to suggest how active travel can be part of this strategy. Comments should be returned on the template in the supporting documents by email.

Closes 10 February 2022

1.2: Scottish Government – Investing in Scotland’s Future: Resource Spending Review Framework

I will look at this consultation in more detail next month. However, whilst the recent budget announcement of £150m for active travel this year is a substantial increase it was below what was hoped for. Therefore, we need to argue for a big boost to funding in the next budget at the end of this year – £235m would be appropriate in order to get Scotland on a straight line trajectory to £320m in 2024/25. I’m not sure how far ahead the Spending Review looks but obviously, we don’t want funding to plateau at £320m – we need to argue for growth to continue.

Closes 27 March 2022

1.3: Scottish Government – Draft National Planning Framework 4

The NPF4 is a major document setting out the direction for national planning policy and national developments for the next decades. The fourth NPF is focussed on meeting the net-zero target and supporting the nature restoration and recovery – good progress from NPF3.

Overall its a positive document aiming to drive planning and national developments towards addressing the climate emergency.

The big news for cycling is the inclusion of a National Cycling, Walking and Wheeling Network as a National Development, important because this designation as a national development gives it high status. There’s also more detail on creating 20 minute neighbourhoods.

Also relevant to Glasgow is a ‘Clyde Mission’ national development. However, there’s not a great deal of detail on these proposed policies.

I will look into this consultation and provide more suggestions for responses next month

Closes 31 March 2022

1.4: Transport Scotland – 20% Reduction in Car Km Route Map 

The long-awaited Route Map has been published setting out Government’s plans to achieve the target from the updated Climate Change Plan which committed Scotland to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030.

Its a first time in the UK that a government has targeted demand management in this way. Wales has set up a review of its road building programme in light of the Climate Emergency – many argue that Transport Scotland should also put a halt to road building, such as increasing capacity on the A9 and A96.

Graphic from the Route Map document

The Route Map includes more than 30 interventions aiming to achieve the target but all of these are recycled policies – there’s nothing new.

In my blog post for Cycling UK I also argue that there need to be more ‘sticks’ to directly disincentivise driving. There are lots of positive ‘carrots’ providing alternatives to driving but they all need developing. There’s also analysis in this twitter thread.

Closes 6 April 2022

Picture by Sarah Tokou (P7), from St Mary’s Primary School in Largs. From Route Map front cover..
Picture by Sarah Tokou (P7), from St Mary’s Primary School in Largs. From Route Map front cover..

1.5: Transport Scotland – Strategic Transport Projects Review – STPR2

Hot on the heels of the Route Map came the STPR2 consultation. This is the 2nd part of the STPR2 consultation with Part 1, which featured in National Digest 5, outlining some of the policies already being developed, e.g. Active Freeways.

As with NPF4, STPR2 is focussed at creating infrastructure for the coming decades which will help Scotland to decarbonise transport and meet climate emission reduction targets. This is positive and a change from the first STPR which was notable for locking in high carbon infrastructure such as motorway building and the Queensferry Bridge.

However, STPR2 still has big projects – creating a network of cycle lanes is a big job – but different in that they will be delivered by multiple actors.

For active travel there are a number of positive measures including:

  • Active Freeway & Cycle Parking Hubs
  • Rural cycling connections
  • 20 minute neighbourhoods
  • Behaviour change projects
  • Access to bikes
  • Cycling to school
  • 20mph zones
  • Speed limits review

There’s a whole lot more besides – notably a metro system for Glasgow!

STPR2 includes much to welcome although, each proposed project has little detail.

Closes 15 April 2022

Section 2: Forthcoming Consultations

I’m not aware of any more consultations to come. There have been so many recently I’m hoping for time to work on the ones above!

Section 3: Consultation Feedback

None this month