Transport Minister launches National Transport Strategy refresh
At an event, held in Edinburgh, Mr Mackay praised the delivery of the strategy to date, highlighting significant advances in rail, sustainable and integrated transport sectors in particular.
The NTS sets out Scottish Government Ministers’ strategic vision for transport delivery across the country. Today’s refresh provides an update on the delivery of the strategy, which was launched in 2006.
Mr Mackay said:
“This refresh of the National Transport Strategy is an opportunity to take stock of how we are performing against the outcomes set in 2006 and a chance to update the strategy that underpins our investment and policies in the transport sector to match the changed landscape of today.
“What we have shown today is good news, not only in terms of how this Government is performing against the outcomes of improved journey times and connections, reduced emissions and improved quality, accessibility and affordability, but that the framework set out in the NTS is still working and relevant in informing how we continue to operate.
“Since 2006 we have made real progress, despite unforeseen circumstances such as a major financial crisis and recession, and we have invested heavily in transport infrastructure, helping to mitigate the recession’s effects by improving connectivity by land, sea and air.
“Rail has performed particularly strongly with more passengers than ever before now choosing to travel on Scotland’s railways, with the newly opened Borders Railway leading the line in this success. The Scottish Government has committed £5 billion to transforming Scotland’s rail network, including £475 million for the largest-ever train improvement programme seen in Scotland. This will see 10% more trains for the ScotRail fleet, providing 23% extra seats for passengers, and mean that 90% of all Scotland’s trains will either be new or fully refurbished by 2019.
“Too often, we focus solely on passenger transport, with less attention given to how we ensure that goods get to where they need to, in order to drive our economy forward. The freight industry has an important role to play and we are recognising this by publishing a refreshed freight policy as part of the document.
“The NTS refresh has shown the framework set out in the NTS is still relevant so I am today re-affirming the vision, key strategic outcomes and high level objectives.
“However, this exercise has also confirmed that a fuller review of the NTS is required in the next Parliament which delves into more fundamental questions around how we can best work together and prioritise our activity to the benefit of Scotland’s economy and Scotland’s people.”
COSLA’s Development, Economy and Sustainability Spokesperson Cllr Stephen Hagan said:
“COSLA has been involved throughout the development of this refreshed National Transport Strategy and we welcome the partnership approach that has been adopted by the Scottish Ministers across the process.
“We firmly believe that effective, efficient and affordable transport is essential for everyone and that our transport system has a major part to play in the ambition to deliver truly inclusive economic growth in Scotland. It can also help increase competitiveness for local economies and crucially reduce inequalities by increasing mobility and accessibility for all.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government to undertake a full review to build upon this framework and to drive a further improvement in transport outcomes for users of different modes and networks the length and breadth of the country.”
The strategy will be online 21/01/2016, 10:00 - http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/strategy/national-transport-strategy