1 The Policy Context 1.2 The Policy Context

1 The Policy Context

1.1 Introduction

The Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) will make recommendations on a portfolio of land-based transport investments to be delivered between 2012 and 2022 that will most effectively contribute towards the Government’s Purpose to promote sustainable economic growth and the delivery of the three strategic outcomes identified in the National Transport Strategy of: improving journey times and connections; reducing emissions; and improving quality, accessibility and affordability.

Output from the STPR will focus specifically on strategic land-based interventions that would be delivered, or significantly supported, by national government. To understand how the totality of transport interventions will contribute to the Government’s Purpose and the three strategic outcomes of the National Transport Strategy, consideration must also be given to the range of complementary transport interventions that will be brought forward simultaneously by national, regional and local transport authorities.

The purpose of this report is to:

  • Define the policy expectations and national objectives that will provide the framework for determining the future required performance of the strategic networks;
  • Identify, based on the evidence from Report 1, a series of objectives at urban network, strategic node and corridor level that will target and facilitate the delivery of those policy expectations and national objectives; and
  • Identify the significance of issues to determine those that may require a step change approach to option generation in SWP5 to meet the national objectives.

This report builds on, and flows from, the output of Report 1 which sets the context for this review. The specific tasks undertaken in Report 1 were:

  • Definition and description of the national strategic transport network;
  • Development of a set of indicators to assess the performance of the national strategic transport network;
  • Assessment of the existing performance of the network, using the available Transport Model for Scotland (TMfS) and additional information; and
  • Forecast of the future performance of the network for 2022 using TMfS.

1.2 The Policy Context

Policy expectations and objectives for STPR must be developed with the aim of contributing to the Scottish Government’s Purpose and strategic objectives. The Government Economic Strategy (2007) states that sustainable economic growth is the one central purpose to which all else in government is directed and contributes. The Scottish Government’s Strategic Objectives — to make Scotland wealthier and fairer; smarter; healthier; safer and stronger; and greener — are all predicated on effort to bring more economic success to Scotland. From a transport perspective, more detailed articulation of how the Government’s Purpose can be achieved is outlined in:

  • The Government Economic Strategy (2007), particularly in relation to the strategic priorities of ’Infrastructure Development and Place’ and ‘Equity’;
  • The National Transport Strategy (NTS) (2006) and its associated documents, (the Freight Action Plan, the Bus Action Plan, Scotland’s Railways and the High Level Output Statement (HLOS) for the railway network);
  • The National Planning Framework (NPF) discussion draft (2008); and
  • The Government’s Consultation for a Scottish Climate Change Bill.

The work has also taken account of the Eddington Transport Study and the Stern Review, which provide additional context to inform the development of national objectives.

The next section provides a review of the relevant documentation that identifies specific policy direction for the STPR.

1.2.1 The Government Economic Strategy

The Government Economic Strategy states that the overall purpose of Government is to promote sustainable economic growth. The strategy sets targets to track progress in boosting Scotland’s growth (GDP), productivity, population and labour market participation, and in delivering the desired characteristics of growth — solidarity, cohesion and sustainability. The five strategic priorities of: Learning, Skills and Well-being; Supportive Business Environment; Infrastructure Development and Place; Effective Government; and Equity are identified as being critical to economic growth. This relationship is shown in Figure 1.1.

The strategic priorities of ‘Infrastructure Development and Place’ and ‘Equity’ provide specific context for the STPR.

The key strategic approaches that the Scottish Government will pursue in relation to the strategic priority of Infrastructure and Place include:

  • Focussing investment on making connections across and with Scotland better, improving reliability and journey times, seeking to maximise the opportunities for employment, business, leisure and tourism;
  • Providing sustainable, integrated and cost-effective public transport alternatives to the car, connecting people, places and work across Scotland; and
  • A planning and development regime which is joined up, and combines greater certainty and speed of decision making within a framework geared towards achieving good quality sustainable places and sustainable economic growth.

Figure 1.1 — Scottish Government: Strategic Approach

Figure 1.1 — Scottish Government: Strategic Approach

The key strategic approaches that the Scottish Government will pursue in relation to Equity include:

  • Providing the opportunities — and incentives — for all to contribute to Scotland’s sustainable economic growth;
  • According greater priority to achieving more balanced growth across Scotland, to give all across Scotland the chance to succeed; and
  • Promoting economic growth and environmental quality and responsibility as mutually advancing.

The Scottish Budget Spending Review 2007 outlines a National Performance Framework, which will underpin the delivery of the Government’s Economic Strategy. It reaffirms the nine Purpose Targets, presents the 15 national outcomes and outlines 45 National Indicators. The STPR must consider its contribution to all the Purpose Targets, bearing in mind that the STPR covers the period 2012 — 2022:

Table 1.1 — Government’s central Purpose: Indicators and Targets



Economic Growth (GDP)

To raise the GDP growth rate to the UK level by 2011
To match the growth rate of small independent EU countries by 2017


To rank in the top quartile for productivity among our key trading partners in the OECD by 2017


To maintain our position on labour market participation as the top performing country in the UK and to close the gap with the top five OECD economies by 2017


To match average European (EU15) population growth over the period from 2007 to 2017, supported by increased healthy life expectancy in Scotland over this period


To increase overall income and the proportion of income earned by the three lowest regions by 2017


To narrow the gap in participation between Scotland’s best and worst performing regions by 2017


To reduce emissions over the period to 2011
To reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050

The 15 National Outcomes support the 9 Purpose Targets and describe in more detail what the government wants to achieve. Those National Outcomes relevant to the STPR are as follows:

  • We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place for doing business in Europe;
  • We realise our full economic potential with more and better employment opportunities for our people;
  • We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger;
  • We live in well-designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need;
  • We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations;
  • We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production; and
  • Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people’s needs;

The National Indicators that the STPR will have a key role in contributing towards are:

  • Reducing the proportion of driver journeys delayed due to traffic congestion;
  • Increasing the proportion of journeys to work made by public or active transport;
  • Improving people’s perceptions of the quality of public services delivered; and
  • Reducing overall ecological footprint.

1.2.2 National Transport Strategy

The National Transport Strategy (NTS)1, along with its associated documents for rail, bus and freight, was published in 2006. The three key strategic outcomes of the NTS were subsequently endorsed by the new Scottish Government and are aligned to the Government’s Purpose. The three key strategic outcomes for transport are:

  • Improve journey times and connections, to tackle congestion and the lack of integration and connections in transport;
  • Reduce emissions, to tackle the issues of climate change, air quality and health improvement; and
  • Improve quality, accessibility and affordability, to give people a choice of public transport, where availability means better quality transport services and value for money or an alternative to the car.

1.2.3 National Planning Framework

The first National Planning Framework (NPF) for Scotland (2004) set out a strategy for Scotland’s development to 2025, providing a national context for development plans and planning decisions and helping to inform the wider programmes of government, public agencies and local authorities. The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 places subsequent NPFs on a statutory footing.

The ‘National Planning Framework for Scotland 2 — Discussion Draft’ (2008) takes forward the spatial aspects of the Government’s Economic Strategy and provides further detail on the spatial development of Scotland up to 2030. The NPF2 will play a key role in co-ordinating policies with a spatial dimension and integrating and aligning strategic investment priorities to enable each part of the country to play to its strengths in contributing to the Government’s Purpose and strategic objectives. It focuses strongly on priorities for the improvement of infrastructure to support Scotland’s long-term development, and for transport infrastructure it supports the three strategic outcomes of the NTS.

The Planning Act makes provision for the NPF to be used to designate certain developments as national developments that are considered essential to delivery of the spatial strategy and establishes specific procedures for the consideration of such developments. The NPF2 Discussion Draft puts forward a draft proposed list of national developments informed by Report 1 of the STPR, and which need to be considered in developing the STPR:

Five of the designated national developments are particularly relevant to STPR:

  • Replacement Forth Crossing;
  • Edinburgh Airport Enhancement;
  • Glasgow Airport Enhancement;
  • Grangemouth Freight Hub; and
  • Rosyth International Container Terminal.

Output from the STPR will further inform the final NPF2 and consideration will be given to whether additional national developments require to be designated as a result.

1.2.4 Climate Change Policy

Responding to climate change is a policy priority for the Scottish Government in achieving its central Purpose of sustainable economic growth, reflected in its commitment to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The Scottish Government will be introducing a Scottish Climate Change Bill to place its emission reduction commitment on a statutory footing and to put in place a statutory framework to support delivery of the target. Consultation on the Bill was undertaken between January and April 2008.

The Scottish Government is also a partner in the UK Climate Change Bill, which proposes a statutory target of 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050. The UK Bill makes provision for the establishment of a Committee on Climate Change to advise governments on, among other things, emissions budgets over a series of three five-year budget periods. In doing so, it will consider the emission reduction potential from across the economy including the transport sector. The Committee is due to report in December 2008.

Transport accounts for around 23 per cent of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions (Scottish Transport Statistics, 2007) and is the second largest contributing sector behind energy supply. Growth in emissions from the transport sector contrasts with the decline experienced by most other sectors of the Scottish economy. While technological improvements have delivered some benefits in terms of reduced emissions, these have largely been offset or outstripped by rising demand and travel choices being made by transport users.

It is generally recognised that the transport sector will be one of the most difficult sectors from which to reduce emissions. The development of new low-carbon fuel alternatives will be expensive and is only likely to occur in the mid to long term, whilst the social/economic costs of reducing travel demand could also be high. For these reasons, many studies, including the influential Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change (2006), suggest that transport will be among the last sectors from which to obtain significant cost-effective reductions in emissions.

Scotland’s Climate Change Programme ‘Changing Our Ways’ and the consultation document for the Scottish Climate Change Bill recognise the challenges of reducing transport emissions in the Scottish context. The Scottish Government has fewer policy levers available to achieve emissions reductions than the UK Government, which may lead to limitations in the potential for devolved policies to achieve large savings. It is generally held that ‘hard’ policy measures such as taxation and regulation of product standards may have more potential than softer, devolved measures. With respect to transportation specifically, many of the levers that are most likely to effect change are reserved policy, such as vehicle taxation and fuel duty, or lie at the EU level in terms of, for example, product standards or through the EU’s emission trading scheme.

For the STPR, the added challenge is that it focuses on the strategic transport network, which by its nature, promotes longer inter-urban journeys and the movement of freight. While opportunities exist and will improve over the next few decades to promote emissions reductions on the strategic networks, the greatest opportunity to impact on transport emissions in the decade ahead perhaps more readily exists in addressing mode choices and travel demand at a regional and local level.

Despite these limitations the Scottish Government is committed to demonstrating leadership in tackling Climate Change. It will publish along side the Climate Change Bill a strategic overview document to describe how it will deliver against its 2050 emissions target. This overview will set out how each sector of the Scottish economy might contribute to the Government’s emission targets, and describe the emission reduction pathways to be taken by each sector.

Greater clarity on these pathways to 2050 will only emerge following the reporting of the STPR to Scottish Ministers. The approach taken by the STPR is that mitigation measures will be sought that are within the devolved competency of Scottish Ministers. The extent of intervention will need to be considered with other expectations in delivering the Government’s central Purpose of sustainable economic growth. The STPR will adopt a transparent reporting system across social, economic and environmental indicators to appraise each of the interventions considered and recommended.

The output of the STPR will be an Indicative Transport Investment Plan for 2012 to 2022, the components of which would become committed by Government during subsequent Spending Reviews. The opportunity exists in feeding into each Spending Review to review elements of the Investment Programme in light of more developed policy on emissions reduction to ensure that it is compliant with any emissions reduction pathway introduced for the transport sector.