Consultation Digest (National) Issue 4, 12 February 2021: Transport projects going green

For me, lockdown 2.0 has seen the return of home schooling and child care, and a need for brutal prioritisation of my time. As a result, whilst this digest includes lots of consultations for you to dig into I haven’t been able to provide much of a guide to each this month. Apologies for that.

The big new consultation this month is Transport Scotland’s publication of Phase 1 of the Strategic Transport Projects Review or STPR2 – the big transport projects Government is planning to undertake in the years ahead. STPR2 has a big focus on sustainable transport projects but Government is still planning to spend billions on A9 and A96 dualing so it’s a confusing picture right now. Of course, with an election on 6 May, and all parties making commitments on transport, change could be around the corner.

Section 1: Current Consultations

(in date order for responses)

1.1: *NEW* UK Parliament — Zero emission vehicles and road pricing

One with a looming deadline. The UK Parliament’s Transport Committee is looking at the implications of accelerating the shift to zero emission vehicles and the potential for introducing road pricing, or pay-as-you-drive, schemes.

Closes 17 February 2021

1.2: Scottish Government – Fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4): position statement

The Scottish Government has issued a position statement on the NPF4 and is seeking our opinions. The main NPF4 is still to come next year so this consultation is asking what we all think about the direction of travel. Achieving climate emission targets is a big theme in this document along with resilient, greener, better communities and places.

Closes 19 February 2021

1.3: *NEW* Scottish Government — Draft Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change

Included for anyone interested on submitting thoughts on engaging the public on climate change.

Closes 17 March 2021

1.4: Law Commission (& Scottish Law Commission) – Automated Vehicles: A regulatory framework for automated vehicles

This 3rd consultation builds on the two previous consultations on safety assurance, allocating legal responsibility, and licensing AVs for passenger services and public transport.

If you are worried that this consultation may be full of technical ‘legalese’ (I am), there is a summary paper. And keep in mind the principle that for automated vehicles to be safe they need to be able to not just see and recognise cyclists and pedestrians but predict their movements.

During this three-month consultation the Law Commission welcome views on key questions including, the legal meaning of “self-driving”, a GB safety assurance scheme for automated vehicles, the extent of criminal liability, and access to data w to enable the regulatory scheme for AVs to function.

Closes 18 March 2021

1.5: *NEW* Transport Scotland – Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2)

STPR2 outlines Transport Scotland’s plans for major transport infrastructure projects. Instead of being dominated by major road building projects like STPR1, this phase 1 consultation of STPR2 has a much more sustainable focus, including reallocation of road space for active travel, development of Active Freeways, and expansion of 20mph zones.

Because of Covid STPR2 will be in 2 phases as Government outlines – ‘the first of which will make recommendations on transport interventions for investment in the short term, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Scottish Government plans for a green recovery. With Phase 2 reporting in Autumn 2021, STPR2 will then give Scottish Ministers a programme of potential transport investment opportunities for the period 2022-2042.’

Closes 31 March 2021

Section 2: Forthcoming Consultations

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

No news yet on Phase 2 of the consultation which will cover permitted development rights for e-bike charging points.

Section 3: Consultation Feedback

3.1: Scottish Government – Infrastructure Investment Plan

Government has published its £33bn Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP). We featured this in my first national consultation digest back in November.