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I am pleased to present my first report as Chief Executive of Transport Scotland. Since assuming the role in February 2009, I have been impressed by the variety and complexity of the projects being delivered by Transport Scotland and our ability to support the Government’s Purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth. This Report sets out the progress Transport Scotland has made against the key delivery priorities in our Corporate Plan 2008/11 and in achieving the specific targets/ outcomes in our Business Plan 2008/09.

This progress has been achieved against a background, in the second part of the year, of difficult economic circumstances due to the downturn in the global economy. The Scottish Government has made it absolutely clear that the purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth remains its key priority and that an efficient transport system is essential for enhancing productivity and delivering greater prosperity and opportunity for the people of Scotland. We have therefore continued to drive forward, on behalf of the Scottish Government, the largest transport investment programme Scotland has ever seen, with a number of vital projects such as the development of the railway line between Airdrie and Bathgate, major improvement works on the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway links and the M74 Completion. We have also commenced works on important safety improvements on the A9 at Bankfoot and Carrbridge.

As a major priority we are progressing the design, development and procurement of the Forth Replacement Crossing and tendering for what will be Scotland’s largest civil engineering project in several generations. This strategic crossing is a vital economic link for Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians and crucial in maintaining the capacity and capability of the national and regional road network. Public exhibitions took place in January to allow members of the public to see the plans for the crossing.

During the year we have continued to make significant progress in delivering major road and rail projects across Scotland. The First Minister, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, opened the new Clackmannanshire Bridge over the Forth in November. The bridge, designed to alleviate traffic pressure on the Kincardine Bridge, is the second largest of its type in the world. Also in November the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson MSP, opened the new footbridge over the M8 at Harthill. The new Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link was opened in May 2008. This has proved to be a major success with 400,000 passengers in the first year, well over double the original forecast.

The A9 Ballinluig junction improvements were completed on budget and two months ahead of schedule and opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney MSP, in May. In the same month, work started on the M74 Completion. The A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass was completed in September and in January we awarded the £320 million project to construct a new 18 kilometre stretch of motorway on the A80 between Stepps and Haggs.

Many other road and rail projects were being planned or were under construction. Details of these and our other achievements are set out in the following chapters. In all of these we have collaborated constructively with a wide range of partners in the transport sector and beyond and we look forward to continuing these constructive relationships in the coming years.

In order to ensure that the overall capital budget for Scotland is sustainable in years to come, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth announced in his budget statement that the Scottish Government has reluctantly decided to cancel the Glasgow Airport Rail Link project. However, it remains committed to continuing to support the capacity and signalling improvements on the rail line between Paisley and Glasgow, to accommodate growing demand for rail travel in Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Inverclyde.

Our budget for the year was £2,084 million and our final outturn was within 1.4% of that figure, a clear indication of the tight control we exercise over projects and of the priority we give to ensuring that best value is achieved from public funds. This spending is also vital to the economy in Scotland with 95% of our budget being spent supporting tens of thousands of jobs across Scotland, almost all of which are in the private sector. Our continuing investment is helping the hard pressed construction sector, creating hundreds of construction jobs and supporting over 25% of the civil engineering contracting sector’s workload in Scotland.

We continue to plan for the future in line with Scottish Ministers’ priorities. The Strategic Transport Projects Review, published in December 2008, is the culmination of several years work using advanced modelling techniques to consider the challenges that our transport networks will face over the next 20 years. This is at the leading edge of transport appraisal and is the most comprehensive and ambitious transport plan ever published in Scotland and provides the basis on which Ministers can make informed decisions about future transport spending beyond the current programme.

Over the year we have continued to take forward our approach to climate change which sets out the actions that we can take to mitigate against and adapt to the challenges of climate change. We aim to do everything we can to respond to the Scottish Government’s challenge of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. As well as continued investment in the rail network we are also some way through a review of the sustainability of our design, procurement, construction and maintenance practices with a view to not only reducing our own carbon emissions but also to encouraging innovation and more sustainable practice throughout our supply chain.

We have continued to manage the trunk road network effectively, delivering £214 million of road maintenance and improvement schemes while keeping 99.3% of the trunk road network open to traffic at all times. We have also continued to invest in our Traffic Scotland, Traveline and Transport Direct services to improve the way in which we operate the network and provide information to travellers.

Safety is at the heart of everything we do as we aim to make our roads, already among the safest in the world, even safer. Having exceeded the Government’s 2010 casualty reduction targets, we are now focusing on contributing to the new and more challenging targets for 2020. Safer road design, improved speed management, continued maintenance and better provision for vulnerable road users will bring about the further reduction in accidents on our roads that we are all seeking.

Key to our continued progress and achievement is having a committed and enthusiastic team with the right skills and resources focused on the delivery of our aims and delivery priorities. Our Learning and Development Programme and Graduate Training Scheme are both designed to ensure our staff have the appropriate professional skills to deliver excellence in all that we do. We are, however, still faced with some difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified and experienced staff. I would like to thank both our staff and our industry partners for all their hard work in enabling us to achieve our outcomes for 2008/09 and look forward to working with them as we face our future challenges.

I should record that Dr Malcolm Reed CBE, Transport Scotland’s first Chief Executive, retired in February 2009. Malcolm successfully guided the organisation through its early years since Transport Scotland was established in 2006. He oversaw the completion of many road and rail projects across Scotland and set in motion those which are currently under planning and construction. The Transport Scotland Board and all staff wish to record their appreciation for all that Malcolm achieved and wish him well in his retirement.

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David Middleton
Chief Executive
Transport Scotland
1 December 2009