We are a few month’s into the current parliamentary term and here come the consultations on government policy. I expect quite a few over the coming months. The 4th National Planning Framework is the main focus of this digest with two live consultations – from the Government and from a Parliamentary Committee.
This weeks’ Scottish Budget saw the Scottish Government boost the budget for active travel by 30% to a new record of £150m. This is the third increase in successive years and comes after the Programme for Government commitment to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on walking, cycling, and wheeling by 2024/25.
That’s just two years’ away so many were hoping for more from this budget to put Scotland on a straight line increasing trajectory to £320m (see red line in diagram below). That would have needed approximately a £70m boost this time but an extra £34.5m is not to be sniffed at. Rather we have to look to the promised Spending Review in May (see consultation 1.5 below) to make the case for even bigger budgetary increases over the next two years and beyond.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Section 1: Current Consultations
(in date order for responses)
1.1: Transport Scotland – NTS2 Delivery Plan – Impact Assessments Consultation
Impact assessments are being undertaken on 37 strategic policies within the National Transport Strategy (NTS2) Delivery Plan and Transport Scotland would like to get your views on the initial screening of impacts through a survey.
Closes 5 January 2022
1.2: Scottish Parliament – Draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)
The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee is leading an inquiry into the draft NPF4. Responses to this are needed early in January, whereas the Government’s consultation closes at the end of March – see 1.6 below.
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.
For the first time NPF4 includes a National Cycling, Walking and Wheeling Network as a national development, which should be welcomed. Also relevant to Glasgow is a ‘Clyde Mission’ national development. However, there’s not a great deal of detail on these proposed policies.
The Committee is seeking opinions on some different questions to those asked on the Government consultation so its worth bearing these in mind as you write your opinions.
The four questions, posed by the Committee, are useful for calling for better provision for cycling – see suggestions to include in answers in italics.
- What does your ideal home look like and what surrounds it? – Cycling parking, local cycle access to services.
- How can we design our environments to address climate change? – Dense networks of cycling infrastructure, and 20-minute neighbourhoods.
- How do you use space to stay healthy and well? – The importance of cycling to stay healthy and well and the need for planned high quality infrastructure to achieve this.
- How can planning encourage people to live in rural areas? – Rural areas also need cycle routes but also lower speed limits. Community travel hubs can also help guide people to sustainable travel solutions.
You can respond to the Committee in one of two ways – either use the survey type format or answer the above questions in writing (they welcome pictures or videos too). See the Committee’s page for more information.
The online survey-style response format seeks opinions on each section of the draft NPF4 to ask to what extent the policies in the draft document meet a list of criteria, including:
- support efforts to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets
- improve health and wellbeing
- improve equality
- interact with other Scottish Government strategies
- conflict with other outcomes and state how these conflicts will be managed
Closes 10 January 2022
1.3: Scottish Parliament – Inquiry into the role of local government and its cross-sectoral partners in financing and delivering a net-zero Scotland
The Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee have a new inquiry looking into the role of local government in delivering Scotland’s net zero target. Ahead of the local election in May this is inquiry could make useful recommendations about the delivery of active travel infrastructure and cycling projects by Local Authorities.
The Committee is looking to find out the main barriers at a local level, to Scotland reaching its net zero targets. It will consider what practical steps councils are taking to break them down, in partnership with business, the voluntary sector, and local communities. It will also highlight areas where change will be needed if councils are to play a full role in the helping us achieve the goal of a net zero Scotland.
GoBike and GoBike members are probably well placed to provide the Committee with useful experience of working with councils – especially to answer question 10: How are councils working with cross-sectoral partners to decarbonise transport (including encouraging active travel) and to improve air quality?
There are 12 questions posed by the Committee to be answered in an online format – but as usual you don’t need to answer all of them.
Closes 21 January 2022
1.4: 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
1.5: Scottish Government – Investing in Scotland’s Future: Resource Spending Review Framework
I will look at this consultation in more detail in 2022.
Closes 27 March 2022
1.6: Scottish Government – Draft National Planning Framework 4
There’s a good few months to respond to the Government about the NPF4. 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. There’s also more detail on creating 20 minute neighbourhoods.
I will look into this consultation and provide more suggestions for responses in the new year.
Closes 31 March 2022
Section 2: Forthcoming Consultations
I expect Transport Scotland to publish its ‘route map’ for how it will achieve its target for a 20% reduction in car journey kilometres by 2030. It’s not clear how Government will consult on this plan.
Also next year Transport Scotland is likely to consult on the second part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).
Section 3: Consultation Feedback
None this month