2.1 INTRODUCTION

2 OVERVIEW OF CURRENT AND DEVELOPING POLICIES AND ACTION PLANS

2.1 INTRODUCTION

The aim of this chapter is to provide a summary of the high level expectations for the study area, from a review of current and developing policies and action plans. This includes a review of the following documents:

2.1.1 National Plans and Policies

  • Scotland’s Transport Future (Scottish Executive, June 2004);
  • National Transport Strategy (Scottish Executive, December 2006);
  • Moving Into The Future: An Action Plan For Buses in Scotland (Scottish Executive, December 2006);
  • Scotland’s Railways (Scottish Executive, December 2006);
  • Preparing for Tomorrow, Delivering Today: Freight Action Plan For Scotland (Scottish Executive, December 2006);
  • Framework for Economic Development in Scotland (Scottish Executive, September 2004);
  • National Planning Framework for Scotland (Scottish Executive, April 2004); and
  • West Edinburgh Planning Framework (Consultative Draft, Scottish Executive, November 2006).

2.2 REGIONAL PLANS AND POLICIES

  • SEStran Draft Regional Transport Strategy (SEStran, November 2006);
  • TACTRAN Draft Regional Transport Strategy (TACTRAN, January 2007);
  • FETA Local Transport Strategy (FETA, June 2005);
  • SITCoS report (SEStran, September 2005);
  • Edinburgh and Lothians Structure Plan 2015 (City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, Midlothian Council and West Lothian Council, June 2004); and
  • Fife Structure Plan (Fife Council, April 2006).

A more detailed review of the high level expectations identified within these documents can be found within Appendix A.

It should be noted that the Bus Action Plan, Freight Action Plan and Scotland’s Railways are associated documents of the National Transport Strategy (NTS). These documents have all been published very recently and therefore provide extremely relevant information for this study.

2.3 THE STUDY AREA

The study area has previously been reported within Report 1 entitled ‘Assess Existing and Forecast Future, conditions of the Transport Network within the Vicinity of the Forth Road and Rail Bridge’ dated November 2006 and is illustrated on Figure 2.1, below.

Figure 2.1 Study Area

image of Figure 2.1 Study Area

2.4 EMERGING AND DEVELOPING POLICIES AND ACTION PLANS

The sections below provide a brief summary of the high level expectations from emerging and developing policies and action plans. Further details relating to these documents can be found within Appendix A.

2.4.1 Scotland’s Transport Future

Scotland’s Transport Future is a transport White Paper which was published by the Scottish Executive in June 2004. It sets out the Scottish Executive’s ambitions for improving the planning and delivery of transport in Scotland. The White Paper outlines the high level objectives for Scotland’s transport system and provides a framework for the development of the transport network at the national, regional and local level.

The overall aim of the strategy is "to promote economic growth, social inclusion, health and protection of our environment through a safe, integrated, effective and efficient transport system".

The high level expectations are to:

  • "promote economic growth by building, enhancing, managing and maintaining transport services, infrastructure and networks to maximise their efficiency;
  • promote social inclusion by connecting remote and disadvantaged communities and increasing the accessibility of the transport network;
  • protect our environment and improve health by building and investing in public transport and other types of efficient and sustainable transport which minimise emissions and consumption of resources and energy;
  • improve safety of journeys by reducing accidents and enhancing the personal safety of pedestrians, drivers, passengers and staff; and
  • improve integration by making journey planning and ticketing easier and working to ensure smooth connection between different forms of transport."

2.4.2 Scotland’s National Transport Strategy

The Scottish Executive and Transport Scotland published a NTS for Scotland in December 2006. The NTS sets out the context for the activities of regional transport partnerships (RTPs) and local authorities and further develops the Scottish Executive’s aims and objectives for transport, as set out within the White Paper. The NTS thus considers Scotland’s transport needs and the needs of travellers, over the medium to long-term.

The NTS sets the framework for STPR and will determine the Scottish Executive’s future infrastructure investment.

The NTS identifies three key strategic outcomes in order to achieve the high level expectations set out within Scotland’s Transport Future:

  • improve journey times and connections, to tackle congestion and the lack of integration and connections in transport which impact on our high level objectives for economic growth, social inclusion, integration and safety;
  • reduce emissions, to tackle the issues of climate change, air quality and health improvement which impact on our high-level objective for protecting the environment and improving health; and
  • improve quality and accessibility and tackle affordability, to give people a choice of public transport where availability means better quality public transport services and value for money or an alternative to the car.

The NTS identifies a requirement to tackle the issues arising from the trends of increasing road and air travel. The NTS envisages a combination of new technology and infrastructure investment alongside measures to change travel patterns and influence travel choices.

Importantly, the NTS recognises "there is a real tension between wanting our strategic networks both to contribute to economic growth and social cohesion in Scotland, through providing better connections and faster journey times and at the same time, minimising the impact on the environment of the emissions associated with increased travel. In particular we do not believe that it is realistic to expect reduced emissions from the trunk road network without compromising our economic growth and accessibility objectives…For trunk roads we want to focus on provision of reliable journey times in the face of anticipated traffic growth, tackling congestion where it affects journey time reliability, through maintaining safe and reliable networks, targeted capacity enhancement and managing demand for the network".

2.4.3 Moving Into The Future: An Action Plan For Buses in Scotland

Moving Into The Future: An Action Plan For Buses in Scotland (Scottish Executive, December 2006) sets out the Scottish Executive’s aims and objectives in relation to bus services in Scotland and specifies measures required to support and improve bus services throughout Scotland. The Action Plan is an associated document to the NTS.

The high-level expectations set out in the Action Plan for Buses in Scotland are as follows:

  • to improve bus services through effective transport planning;
  • to support the development of the bus industry in Scotland; and
  • to support effective implementation of the Regulatory Regime.

2.4.4 Scotland’s Railways

Scotland’s Railways (Scottish Executive, December 2006) sets out the Scottish Executive’s aims and objectives for the rail industry in Scotland and is an associated document to the NTS.

It is recognised that rail has a central role within the NTS and, as such, the vision for the railway in Scotland is that it should provide "a safe, reliable customer-focused service that supports our economy and delivers wider social inclusion and environmental aspirations."

Potential developments or enhancements to the rail network will contribute to the delivery of the strategic outcomes identified in the NTS as follows:

improving journey times and connections

  • timetabling and frequency enhancements to reduce inter-urban journey times;
  • infrastructure enhancements to reduce inter-urban journey times; and
  • maintain current improvements to reliability of services.

reducing emissions

  • electrification to minimise emissions and reduce fossil fuel reliance (in some cases may also reduce journey times); and
  • capacity improvements to enable increased passenger numbers and freight volumes.

improving quality, accessibility and affordability

  • enhancing integration with other modes;
  • enhancements to stations, to improve capacity, passenger experience and to encourage modal shift; and
  • timetable and service enhancements.

It is recognised that by investing in the rail network, a contribution can also be made to reducing road congestion and harmful emissions and also reducing the impact of transport on the environment.

The document recognises the contribution that rail can make in achieving the high level expectations of the Scottish Executive and sets out an implementation plan to assist in the delivery of the identified priorities. Scotland’s Railways also outlines the Scottish Executive’s aspirations for specific sections of the railway network and details the short, medium and long-term priorities for these sections. Further details can be found within Appendix A.

2.4.5 Preparing For Tomorrow, Delivering Today: Freight Action Plan For Scotland

Preparing for Tomorrow, Delivering Today: Freight Action Plan For Scotland (Scottish Executive, December 2006) sets out the Scottish Executive’s aims and objectives for the freight industry in Scotland and acts as an associated document to the NTS. The Action Plan supports the NTS and, in turn, the Framework for Economic Development in Scotland, Scotland’s Sustainable Development Strategy, Scotland’s Climate Change Programme and the Air Quality Strategy.

The Freight Action Plan for Scotland highlights the importance of freight, stating that "the efficient and competitive movement of goods through the entire supply chain is therefore a key element in meeting consumer demand and supporting and enabling economic growth."

The Freight Action Plan identifies the following high level expectations:

to enhance Scotland’s competitiveness

  • balancing freight and non-freight requirements in transport investment;
  • minimising the negative impact of rising transport costs; and
  • continued business developments in the freight and logistics sector.

to support the development of the freight industry in Scotland

  • enhancing the skills and professional image in freight and logistics; and
  • enabling the Scottish freight industry to compete effectively in the European market.

to maintain and improve the accessibility of rural and remote areas

  • targeting improvements to road and rail infrastructure;
  • integrating freight considerations into the provision of lifeline ferry and air services; and
  • addressing the transport needs of rural business and industry.

to minimise the adverse impact of freight movements on the Environment in particular through the reduction in emission and noise

  • promoting modal shift to rail and shipping; and
  • improving efficiency and sustainability of road transport.

to ensure freight transport policy integration

  • co-ordinating with other policy areas – such as energy policy, land use, waste disposal and regional transport strategies – and between public agencies; and
  • co-ordinating freight policy with other UK regions.

2.4.6 Framework for Economic Development in Scotland

The Framework for Economic Development in Scotland (Scottish Executive, 2004) has a clear vision: "to raise the quality of life of the Scottish people through increasing the economic opportunities for all on a socially and environmentally sustainable basis".

The Scottish Executive’s high-level transport objective focuses on promoting economic growth by enhancing the effectiveness of the transport network and reducing congestion, with an overarching target to strive to stabilise road traffic at 2001 levels by 20211. The Framework outlines that this will be achieved through investing in an integrated package of measures which include modernising and improving public transport, promoting alternative modes of transport to the private car and targeted motorway and trunk road improvements. The Scottish Executive’s strategy aims to stabilise road traffic levels, while at the same time supporting economic development.

The Framework indicates that the Scottish Executive has identified a key role for public policy in securing a highly efficient transport system that can best promote economic development in its widest sense. It is recognised that four principal elements will address these priorities:

  • improving transport planning and structural landscape. Improvements in the strategic planning and delivery of major transport projects, through the establishment of Transport Scotland, will ensure that the transport network continues to support future economic activities;
  • investing in transport infrastructure. Future investment in transport infrastructure is central to supporting future economic development by reducing congestion, improving journey time reliability and increasing the travel options available to both individuals and businesses;
  • tackling road traffic congestion in order to help to deliver reliable journey times for all road users. The Scottish Executive will support local authorities who wish to pursue road user charging in order to reduce congestion in their area. Improvements in sustainable transport can help to stimulate modal shift away from the private car towards public transport. In addition, targeted improvements on the motorway and trunk road network will deal with some of the critical congestion spots. The national awareness campaign is also raising awareness of travel issues, promoting public transport and can influence individual travel choice; and
  • improving services for all transport users. Supporting good services at affordable cost, through subsidised ferry and air services, will remain a priority because it is vital to maintaining and improving economic conditions in many rural and island areas of Scotland. The development of concessionary travel schemes for older people initially is increasing accessibility for large sections of society and further extensions to these schemes are planned.

2.4.7 National Planning Framework for Scotland

The National Planning Framework for Scotland (NPFS) (Scottish Executive, April 2004) is a Framework to guide the spatial development of Scotland to 2025. The NPFS sets out a vision of Scotland in which other plans and programmes can share and to which they can contribute.

The NPFS complements the Scottish Executive’s Framework for Economic Development in Scotland (2004), highlighting the importance of place and identifying priorities for investment in strategic infrastructure to enable each part of the country to play to its strengths in "building a Scotland which is competitive, fair and sustainable".

The NPFS identifies specific economic development zones and highlights the importance of ensuring that they are well connected and readily accessible. It makes specific mention of the West Edinburgh Planning Framework which highlights the potential of West Edinburgh as an international business location. The NPFS includes several mode-specific policies, focusing on completing the gaps in the road network and using the network more efficiently. There is also a desire to strengthen road and rail links between Aberdeen and the Newcastle area to tap into knowledge economy clusters there while improving public transport and interchange facilities across the Central Belt.

The NPFS outlines the following aims for Scotland’s spatial development to 2025:

  • increase economic growth and competitiveness;
  • promote social and environmental justice; and
  • promote sustainable development and protect and enhance the quality of natural and built environments.

In order to fulfil the above aims, the key elements of the NPFS to 2025 are as follows:

  • support the development of Scotland’s cities as the main drivers of the economy;
  • spread the benefits of economic activity by promoting environmental quality and connectivity;
  • enable the most disadvantaged communities to benefit from growth and opportunity;
  • strengthen external links;
  • promote economic diversification and environmental stewardship;
  • highlight long-term transport options and promote more sustainable patterns of transport and land use; and
  • extend broadband coverage in every area of Scotland.

2.4.8 West Edinburgh Planning Framework

The West Edinburgh Planning Framework (WEPF) (Consultative Draft, Scottish Executive, November 2006) sets out proposals for future land-use and transport proposals for the area around Sighthill, Gogar, the Highland Showground and the Airport. The WEPF outlines the importance of West Edinburgh as a gateway to Scotland and one of the most important economic development areas in Scotland. The WEPF highlights issues relating to development pressure and transport constraints in the area and sets out a number of requirements necessary for West Edinburgh to realise its full potential as a driver of the Scottish economy.

The high level expectations include:

  • improved public transport accessibility and management of road congestion likely to be caused by development already committed in West Edinburgh and beyond;
  • sustainable airport expansion subject to improved surface access and robust parking controls;
  • a redefinition of the boundaries of Edinburgh’s Green Belt in the A8/Airport corridor;
  • environmental enhancements throughout the area; and
  • development of selected sites for high quality international business development served by a high quality transport system.

2.4.9 SEStran RTS

The SEStran RTS (Draft For Consultation, SEStran, November 2006) provides a framework which will guide the future management of and investment in, transport for the SEStran area over the next 10-15 years.

The SEStran RTS sets out its own vision for transport in South East Scotland and outlines a number of objectives required to achieve this. SEStran’s overarching objectives are consistent with those of the Government (environment, economy, safety, integration and accessibility / social inclusion) and a number of sub-objectives and targets have been set to ensure these objectives are achieved. The draft RTS specifically examines issues relating to the Forth Road Bridge, highlighting existing problems and opportunities.

The RTS recommends specific options for the Forth Road Bridge and details specific criteria for a replacement crossing, thus: "any new crossing should be constructed to allow for future tram (and if possible heavy rail) use."

In the situation that an additional crossing is provided, SEStran outline:

  • "the combination of old and new crossings should provide no more than two lanes in each direction available to single-occupant cars;
  • all new traffic lanes across the Forth need to be dedicated to buses and high occupancy vehicles (HOVs). Consideration will be given to the possibility of allowing HGVs to access these lanes;
  • separate running lanes for the mixed use of buses, HOVs and possibly HGVs should be considered, but as far as possible flexibility should be maintained to enable full vehicle carrying capacity for traffic during periods of Bridge maintenance; and
  • the promoter should be required to put in place a demand management and investment package that will seek to ensure that traffic in Edinburgh will remain at or below the levels that would have been forecast without an additional crossing."

The high level expectations set out in SEStran’s RTS are summarised below.

  • outbound bus priority on the A90, with queue relocation similar to that operating city bound, allowing buses to avoid queues en route to the tolls;
  • Ferrytoll access A90 measures;
  • any new Forth crossing should allow for specific bus lanes, with priority also in bridgehead areas;
  • some Fife to Edinburgh train fares have been identified as high compared with other fares. This will be reviewed and SEStran will seek to bring these into line with other comparable fares;
  • the proposed cross-Forth Ferry could help this corridor, depending on ‘landside’ connections;
  • Network Rail’s Rail Utilisation Strategy proposes to re-structure the Fife line and Aberdeen services – this is supported;
  • traffic flows on the Forth Road Bridge are often near capacity. Controlling access to the Bridge and its approaches could increase the efficiency of flow by stopping flow levels reaching ‘unstable’ levels. The case for ‘ramp metering’ will be considered; and
  • high occupancy vehicle lanes can help to reduce the number of ‘car driver’ trips, in line with the mode share targets. The case for HOV lanes in the Fife – Edinburgh corridor will be considered.

2.4.10 TACTRAN RTS

The Tayside and Central Scotland Regional Transport Partnership (TACTRAN) covers the Angus, Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Stirling Council areas. TACTRAN intends to complete and submit its finalised RTS to the Transport Minister for approval by 31 March 2007.

The TACTRAN RTS sets out a vision for the future development of the transport system in the TACTRAN area. To achieve this vision, the RTS outlines six key objectives, consistent with those of the Scottish Executive but with an added regional dimension. Within each broad objective, TACTRAN’s RTS outlines a number of specific aims which will combine to achieve the overall vision. The high level expectations outlined in TACTRAN’s RTS are summarised below.

  • to ensure transport helps to deliver regional prosperity;
  • to improve accessibility for all, particularly for those suffering from social exclusion;
  • to ensure that the transport system contributes to safeguarding the environment and promotes opportunities for improvement;
  • to promote the health and well-being of communities;
  • to improve the real and perceived safety and security of the transport network; and
  • to improve integration, both within transport and between transport and other policy areas.

The RTS also highlights several specific transport opportunities which affect the Forth Road Bridge including additional cross-Forth rail paths and the proposed Edinburgh Airport Rail Link. These aspirations are summerised below:

  • increased Cross-Forth rail paths which will facilitate the provision of increased rail frequency to the south and to the north of the TACTRAN area.

2.4.11 FETA Local Transport Strategy

FETA published its Local Transport Strategy (LTS) in June 2005. FETA is a partnership organisation comprising representatives of Fife, Edinburgh, West Lothian and Perth and Kinross Councils. FETA is responsible for the management, maintenance and operation of the Forth Road Bridge. It is also within FETA’s remit to develop measures which reduce traffic congestion on the Bridge or encourage use of public transport. FETA’s LTS covers the period from 2005 to 2020/21.

FETA’s LTS identifies the problems currently affecting the Forth Road Bridge and sets out a vision aimed at reducing congestion and increasing public transport use on the Forth Road Bridge. In order to achieve this vision FETA’s LTS establishes two strategic aspirations and a number of objectives aimed at achieving these. The LTS considers change in the tolling regime to be a necessity if FETA’s vision and objectives are to be achieved. The high-level objectives outlined in the LTS are summarised below.

  • increase accessibility across the Forth;
  • support a vibrant Scottish economy;
  • promote strategic investment;
  • encourage sustainable movements across the Forth, for example multiple occupancy vehicles and public transport use;
  • improve journey times and reliability for sustainable transport modes;
  • maintain and operate the Forth Road Bridge and minimise inconvenience for users;
  • reduce congestion and minimise environmental, safety and social impacts of traffic on local communities; and
  • improve integration between public transport modes for cross-Forth journeys.

2.4.12 SITCoS Report

The SEStran Integrated Transport Corridor Studies (SITCoS) report (SEStran, 2005) provides details of the Queensferry cross-Forth integrated transport corridor study. The report highlights a number of existing and future problems affecting the Queensferry corridor and outlines several objectives aimed at relieving these problems. The SITCoS report recognises the need to provide increased cross-Forth capacity and details the disbenefits of a failure to do so. The report concludes with a number of short, medium and long-term recommendations. The high-level expectations outlined in the SITCoS report are summarised below.

  • to stabilise and improve accessibility to cross Forth movement for people and goods;
  • ensure land use planning is integrated with transport plans;
  • revised rail patterns to maximise use of cross-Forth rail capacity;
  • support for Park and Choose at key locations;
  • completion of the bus "right of way" network between Fife and Edinburgh;
  • potential for toll-related demand management strategies; and
  • a long-term strategy of demand management measures and the provision of a multi-modal crossing.

2.4.13 Edinburgh and Lothians Structure Plan 2015

The Edinburgh and the Lothians Structure Plan 2015 was prepared by the City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, Midlothian Council and West Lothian Council and was approved by Scottish Ministers on the 17 June 2004.

The Structure Plan sets out the long-term vision for the development of land in Edinburgh and the Lothians. It provides the broad framework for local plans, which contain more detailed and site specific policies. The overarching aim of the Structure Plan is to "provide in full for the development needs of Edinburgh and the Lothians in accordance with the principle of sustainable development, whilst maintaining and enhancing the environmental heritage that underpins the areas quality of life."

The Structure Plan sets out a number of strategic objectives in order to encourage a more sustainable pattern of development in Edinburgh and the Lothians:

  • maintaining and enhancing economic competitiveness;
  • promoting a more inclusive society;
  • protecting and enhancing the natural and built environment; and
  • integrating land use and transport.

2.4.14 Fife Structure Plan

The Finalised Fife Structure Plan (Fife Council, April 2006) sets out strategic land use challenges for Fife communities and is the key land use planning document for directing and managing growth and change throughout the area. The Structure Plan outlines a vision for Fife in 2026:

"A location of first choice in east central Scotland to live, work, play, learn and invest. An attractive place, with thriving and sustainable communities and a diverse environment. An area with a growing population which has reached at least 375,000 and is still expanding. A place where people can achieve their full potential through education, skills and career development".

The high level expectations outlined within the Structure Plan can be summarised as follows:

  • Growing Fife’s Economy and Increasing its Population;
  • Improving Accessibility;
  • Raising Aspirations;
  • Improving the Range and Quality of Housing Development;
  • Develop and Maintain Sustainable Communities; and
  • Safeguarding and Improving Fife’s Environment.

Of particular relevance to this commission, the Fife Structure Plan recognises "the principle of a further multi-modal Forth crossing is considered vitally important in the context of growing the national economy and those of Edinburgh and Fife. It is important for Fife’s economic and social inclusion agendas to achieve a further crossing".

Furthermore, the Structure Plan outlines several aims and aspirations which will be aided by a Forth Replacement Crossing, for example the potential to connect a light rail transit network to Edinburgh City and West Edinburgh; and a segregated public transport corridor through the Forth Bridgehead Area, including the existing Dunfermline Eastern Expansion area, with potential to link to a further Forth crossing.

2.5 SUMMARY

This chapter has provided an overview of current and emerging Government policies and action plans and has identified the high level expectations for the performance of the transport network in the vicinity of the Forth Road and Rail Bridges. A review of the Scottish Executive’s NTS and associated action plans and documents for rail, bus and freight has been undertaken, together with a review of relevant regional and local policies. The NTS and associated documents were published in December 2006 and are therefore considered to be very relevant to this study.

Overall, the policy review has identified that the high level expectations centre on the Government’s five key objectives of:

  • Economy;
  • Integration;
  • Safety;
  • Environment; and
  • Accessibility and Social Inclusion.

The policy review has identified a number of key priorities emerging from the documents, which are collated and summarised within Figure 2.2 below. It should be noted that the priorities listed below are not necessarily common themes within each of the policy documents, but represent the collective priorities from the review.

Figure 2.2: Key Priorities

image of Figure 2.2: Key Priorities

This chapter has also highlighted SEStran and FETA’s conditions for a replacement of the Forth crossing. FETA has established two strategic aspirations for the next 10-20 years:

  • greater accessibility across the Forth for strategic movements to support a vibrant Scottish economy and promote strategic investment; and
  • more sustainable and reliable patterns of local movements across the Forth which can continue to support local and regional economies.

In addition, SEStran has identified that "any new crossing should be constructed to allow for future tram (and if possible heavy rail) use."

In the situation that an additional crossing is provided, SEStran outline:

  • "the combination of old and new crossings should provide no more than two lanes in each direction available to single-occupant cars;
  • all new traffic lanes across the Forth need to be dedicated to buses and high occupancy vehicles (HOVs). Consideration will be given to the possibility of allowing HGVs to access these lanes;
  • separate running lanes for the mixed use of buses, HOVs and possibly HGVs should be considered, but as far as possible flexibility should be maintained to enable full vehicle carrying capacity for traffic during periods of Bridge maintenance; and
  • the promoter should be required to put in place a demand management and investment package that will seek to ensure that traffic in Edinburgh will remain at or below the levels that would have been forecast without an additional crossing."

The high-level expectations outlined within this chapter have taken careful consideration of SEStran and FETA’s conditions for a replacement crossing.

In addition, it is important that the recommendations of the Forth Replacement Crossing Study also recognise the tensions identified by the Scottish Executive between wanting strategic networks to both contribute to economic growth through providing better connections and at the same time, minimising the impact on the environment of the emissions associated with increased travel.

The following chapter will provide an overview of the consultation which has been undertaken in relation to the study area.