Delivery Against Our Priorities
The Agency publishes a separate Annual Review document, and the 2013 version is available on the Agency website http://transportscotland.gov.uk. The Review document provides a user friendly and accessible guide to our activities in 2012-13, although it is not formally part of the Annual Report.
Improved connections across Scotland and internationally
Transport Scotland continued to manage its delivery priorities and commitments in the context of the National Transport Strategy, monitoring and reviewing its on-going implementation. We sought new opportunities to engage with European transport projects, and further strengthened our ties to existing European initiatives. We continued to deliver strong support to Parliament, its procedures, and its committees. We explored and recommended new ways in which the transport function could be integrated and developed further in the future. We identified and implemented policy interdependencies across Transport Scotland and the wider Scottish Government, with the aim of forging stronger connections to help improve delivery of our business.
As part of the Queensferry Crossing the Contact and Education Centre/Traffic Scotland Control Centre construction has been completed. The Contact and Education Centre was opened on 21 January 2013. The Contact and Education Centre will act as a central point for public information and enquiries relating to the Queensferry Crossing construction process, in line with the requirements of the project's Code of Construction Practice (CoCP). It also includes an exhibition area providing information on the project and for conducting educational activities around the construction.
The Traffic Scotland Control Centre has from April 2013 become the new main operational base for the Traffic Scotland Service which uses intelligent transport systems to process and distribute real time information about the current state of the strategic motorway and trunk road network as well as providing other supplementary information on other modes of travel. The Traffic Scotland Control Centre will also act as a coordinating hub during transport related emergencies, disruption and periods of severe weather.
The Queensferry Crossing has been making good progress with the launch of the Fife Intelligent Transport System (ITS) on 4 December 2012. This has a dedicated bus lane and also variable speed limits which will be used during periods of congestion to smooth traffic flow, cut jams and make journey times more reliable.
The nominations for naming the new Forth bridge opened in November 2012 and closed at the end of January 2013. Over 7,600 unique suggestions were received and the independent advisory panel agreed a shortlist for the public to vote on. The shortlist and voting process was announced in late Spring 2013 with the winning name of "Queensferry Crossing" announced on 26 June 2013.
We have continued to work with airlines and airport operators and with other Scottish Government agencies on the development of direct international air routes to Scotland to foster inward investment, business and inbound tourism traffic.
The National Roads Maintenance Review explored how Transport Scotland could work more closely with Local Authorities and what could be learned from international road maintenance practices. The review, delivered in partnership with all those responsible for road maintenance in Scotland, was concluded in July 2012.
The implementation of the 30 initiatives the review identified has begun across all of Scotland's 33 roads authorities. Once complete, evaluation will be carried out to ensure future initiatives are targeted at areas which deliver greatest benefits. Governance arrangements are also in place, led by the Minister for Transport and Veterans and Councillor Stephen Hagen, COSLA spokesperson for Regeneration and Sustainable Development.
In October 2012 we welcomed the unanimous Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) to finally move forward to the procurement and construction phases of the project. Ground investigation and advance preparatory work started on the ground almost immediately. In January 2013 an Industry day was attended by over 60 UK and European construction organisations interested in bidding for the combined AWPR/Balmedie-Tipperty Non Profit Distributing (NPD) contract. When complete the combined projects will provide a significant boost to the economy of the North East, creating over 14,000 jobs as well as environmental and road safety benefits.
In December 2011 Scottish Ministers announced that they intended to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025. Since that time Transport Scotland has developed a strategy to achieve this challenging programme.
Transport Scotland is currently undertaking an assessment of the A9 corridor and consulting a wide range of stakeholders along the route. To help in this evaluation, contracts were awarded for the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Engineering Support Services Commission in September 2012. These contracts allow the road corridor to be defined and assessed from the strategic environmental aspect and define the key principles on issues such as junctions, lay-bys, rest areas and what environmental constraints will affect the dualling. We are currently on course to have the first section between Kincraig and Dalraddy ready for construction to start in 2015/16. A further section between Luncarty and Birnam will be ready in 2017.
In June 2012 the Scottish Ministers submitted their High Level Output Specification (HLOS) for the period 2014 to 2019 (Control Period 5) to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and set out a £5 billion package of investment in Scotland's rail infrastructure and services. This investment secures the economic and social benefits of the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchised services and supports the delivery of a major programme of network enhancements including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), Borders Railway, Highland Main Line Phase 2, Aberdeen to Inverness Rail Improvements Phase 1, and a rolling programme of electrification. An additional £140 million will be made available across separate industry funds to improve the capacity and capability of the network, including a £30 million station fund and £10 million to accelerate the closure of level crossings, making our railways even safer and more efficient.
Better journey times, better reliability, quality and accessibility
The final Ferries Plan was published in December 2012 which sets out the strategic way forward for all of Scotland's ferry services over the next decade. The first of the new hybrid vessels, the MV Hallaig, was launched by the Deputy First Minister at Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow in December 2012. This vessel will enter service on the Sconser-Raasay route in summer 2014.
Services commenced on 1 April 2013 under two new contracts that will ensure Scotland's trunk road network continues to be efficiently managed. Under Transport Scotland's 4th Generation (4G) contracts BEAR Scotland and Scotland TranServ have taken on responsibility for provision of maintenance services for the north west and south west units respectively.
These contracts, which run for five years with scope for extending for a further five years, will further improve the delivery of trunk road maintenance operations in Scotland, including enhanced winter maintenance and improved journey information.
Scotland's trunk roads are fundamental to the economic well-being of the nation. They connect cities and towns; commuters and workplaces; business and customers.
Hence we must strive to provide a well maintained roads network with reduced congestion and reliable journey times. These contracts are central to that vision by providing a high quality and value for money trunk road maintenance service. They also contribute to the economy in their own right by directly supporting around 500 operational and professional jobs and through the wider supply chain, with local firms benefiting on a regular basis. Procurement is also now underway for the east contracts which will commence service on 1 April 2014.
On 4 July 2012 the Minister for Transport announced details of the EGIP scheme and the first phase to be taken forward for delivery. Based on 4 trains per hour, with longer trains and extended platforms at Queen Street Station, Phase 1 electrifies the core Edinburgh Glasgow via Falkirk line, the Cumbernauld lines in time for the Commonwealth Games and delivers the new Edinburgh Gateway Station with connection to Fife line services.
Other elements of the current EGIP Programme i.e. electrification of Dunblane /Alloa services, Glasgow connectivity with Edinburgh Gateway station and the proposal for 6 trains per hour on the route via Falkirk, could be delivered in later phases. However, a decision to progress would be dependent on High Speed Rail and wider capacity and affordability issues.
Network Rail is currently delivering Haymarket Station Capacity and Electrification Advance route clearance works with a combined value of £55 million. The Haymarket Station works are on schedule for completion by December 2013.
We have recently reached agreement with Network Rail on the Cumbernauld Electrification works, with a value of £80 million. The advance works have commenced with a delivery date in advance of the Commonwealth Games for the introduction of the electrified service to Cumbernauld.
In November 2012, the Deputy First Minister announced the planning for High Speed Rail between Edinburgh and Glasgow, to be completed by 2024. We will plan for a new line allowing journey times of less than 30 minutes between the cities, and a link to the West Coast Main Line. Work on the creation of a business case is on-going and will report in early 2014. We will also work with Department for Transport (DfT) on the further planning of the HS2 network, including route options for high speed connections between Scotland and England.
Work on the Borders Railway is now fully underway following the formal transfer of the delivery role to Network Rail in November 2012. Mining remediation works are now well underway in the north section of the route, to stabilise the ground ahead of the main construction phase beginning. Similar earth works will become evident right along the route by May this year, with work on the large structures also starting during the summer months. The Borders Railway will be the longest new domestic railway to be constructed in Britain for over 100 years, with 30 miles of new railway line.
The 23 span Lothianbridge Viaduct is the largest existing structure on the route (constructed in 1847), located in the Midlothian town of Newtongrange, one of the four station locations in the Midlothian area, with a further three in the Scottish Borders. Trains will run every half hour at peak times and journey times between Tweedbank and Edinburgh will take less than one hour.
The railway will deliver major economic and social development opportunities, offering a fast and efficient service connecting directly with Edinburgh and the wider Scottish rail network that will be a real alternative to the local road network.
ScotRail will enhance off peak Saturday provision by extending its Glasgow to Irvine via Paisley GS services on to Ayr from May 2013. It is also progressing proposals to extend its Glasgow to Irvine via Paisley GS services onto Ayr on weekdays from May 2014.
The overall impact of the December 2012 timetable is a significant improvement in services between Glasgow, Ayrshire and Inverclyde including improvements in journey times, better ferry connections, more off peak services and increased calls at Paisley Gilmour Street. All routes benefit from reduced journey times, with some services being up to 10 minutes quicker than previously. As well as benefiting existing rail passengers, the new timetable is forecast to generate more than 0.5 million new rail journeys per year.
Two million pounds of advance works have been undertaken to trunk road, local road and rail infrastructure to reduce the impact of the re-surfacing of the Kessock Bridge on the travelling public. These include signalisation of the Longman Roundabout, upgrading and re-opening of Conon Bridge Railway Station, additional car parking at Beauly and Dingwall Railway Stations, additional buses and trains at peak times, as well as a southbound HGV/bus only lane on the A9. The measures will leave a legacy of improved journey choices with reduced travelling times.
It was realised when planning these works that some delays were inevitable but we should aim to reduce their impact. This has resulted in close co-operation across Transport Scotland disciplines, Traffic Scotland, stakeholders and the Operating Company. As a result, delays experienced to date have not proven to be as disruptive as they could have been. This project has shown the value of in-depth pre-planning and thorough communications and as a follow up we are providing trunk road users with real time information and options when planning their journeys to ensure traffic disruption is minimised.
Low carbon technology and infrastructure, reduced emissions
On Climate Change Adaptation, we have developed objectives and policies for transportation in the Scottish Adaptation Programme. Similarly, we have collaborated with the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland, Network Rail and ScotRail amongst others to begin the development of a transportation noise action plan for the Scottish Government.
We have partnered and collaborated with key agencies and public bodies in Scotland through focus groups; one of which is leading on evidence and advice on technical solutions to Air Quality Management. It will hold a Low Emission Zones event during the summer and an annual conference later in the year at which we will describe our work to date. We have also engaged with local schools and the Glasgow Science Centre to deliver practical 'world of work' experiences to young people, in tandem with staff becoming Partner in Business mentors via the Career Academies UK charity.
Our delivery of low carbon, active and sustainable transport aspirations involves a range of activity around widening travel choices; reducing the need to travel; and decarbonising the road transport sector. During the year, our E-cosse partnership initiative - which brings together Transport Scotland with car manufacturers, power companies, local authorities and WWF Scotland - to promote the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) was launched and its strategic board met twice. An EV Roadmap for Scotland is being prepared for publication by end of 2013.
Proposals were announced by the Minister for Transport on 6 February 2013 outlining funding for free installation of home charging points throughout Scotland; public charging outlets at least every 50 miles on trunk roads; and an integrated network joining up electric vehicles (EV) with public transport. The £2.6 million investment (including £750,000 from Transport Scotland), will also support installation of charging points at leisure facilities and local authority public car parks, as well as funding for charge points at workplaces. It will connect EV drivers on the Scottish islands through charging points at ferry terminals. There will also be a network of charging points in place in time to be used by officials and visitors to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The Scottish Government's new ChargePlace Scotland web pages will carry the locations of all the charging points, details of financial help to get an EV on the road and all the benefits of joining the EV revolution.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a central part of the Scottish Government's commitment to the decarbonisation of road transport by 2050. A Scotland wide network of "Pay as you go" publicly available electric vehicle charging infrastructure is being installed at 50 mile intervals across the primary roads network. In addition facilities in and around the seven Cities of Scotland is also being provided. Expenditure has totalled £8.5 million since 2010-11 and is being maintained at a rate of £2.5 million per annum. Each location is available via a network branded as "Charge Place" Scotland at http://www.greenerscotland.org/travel/electric-vehicles
Some 400 charging posts or 600 points will be present, approximately 250 of which were publicly available by early summer 2013, in homes, workplaces and in publicly accessible locations. The next phase of the network (again with funding from DfT/OLEV) is also about to be launched with the primary road network continuing and across medium sized centres of population in conjunction with CoSLA.
The third round of the Scottish Green Bus Fund built on the success of the previous two rounds. The Fund aims to reduce the cost of low carbon vehicles by encouraging economies of scale, making the vehicles more commercial. Successful bids to round three totalling £2 million were announced in March 2013. The funding will assist four bus operators to purchase twenty-five low carbon buses which will come into operation as part of Scotland's bus network by end March 2014. Including the new buses from round three, the Fund will have assisted operators in purchasing 95 new low carbon vehicles since it was introduced in 2010. The investment will also stimulate demand for green technology in Scotland.
We will launch a Bus Investment Fund in 2013-14 aimed at supporting partnership solutions involving local transport authorities, bus operators and others to improve services and increase patronage.
Changes to the Bus Service Operators Grant came into effect from April 2012, replacing fuel factors specific to each operator with a standard factor per kilometre for the whole of Scotland. The new arrangements use the same method of calculation for all operators in Scotland, incorporating incentives to use fuel more efficiently and for running low carbon vehicles, both of which favour urban areas where air pollution due to fuel use is more of a problem, and for biodiesel use. The use of mileage as a basis for payment supports the bus network and helps to keep fares lower than they might otherwise have been.
The specific rail element of Transport Scotland's carbon management system, the rail infrastructure projects tool, is to be used by Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) as the blue print for a carbon management system to suit the needs of the wider UK rail industry. The project is scheduled to start in Autumn 2013, running for two years and has secured funding of £194, 000 to develop among others, whole life carbon and cost elements. Transport Scotland will be joined on the project steering group by representatives from Department for Transport, Network Rail, Transport for London, High Speed Rail 2, Train Operating Companies, Rolling Stock Companies and supply chain representatives. The tool will continue to be used by Transport Scotland to enable them to comply with the requirements of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. Collaboration with the Rail Safety Standard Board will enable new developments in carbon management across the UK rail industry based on the rail elements of our CMS.
During 2012-13 we published our first Sustainability Report, which provided a snapshot of our operational carbon emissions during 2011, which were reduced by 7% during 2011 following our Carbon Management Plan actions. Our Carbon Management Plan has also been refreshed - under the auspice of the Carbon Trust's Carbon Management Programme - with new data, baseline and targets.
Increased safety, more innovation
As the sole shareholder in HIAL (Highland and Islands Airports Limited) Transport Scotland supports the company's maintenance and improvement of safety in the operation of its 10 airports in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and also Dundee Airport.
M9 Chartershall Bridge
Transport Scotland completed the £2.2 million replacement of this essential bridge across the M9 that links several local communities in the Stirling area, on programme and to a tight budget. Following detailed consultation with stakeholders and local residents the decision was taken to replace the existing bridge with a new structure. The new bridge opened to traffic on 9 November 2012.
Transport Scotland is committed to strengthen or replace life expired and sub-standard structures, which cannot safely carry modern commercial traffic, on the A82. Over the last 7 years we have invested over £12 million of an estimated £28 million programme. Since 2005 new bridges have been built at Allt Chonoglais - Bridge of Orchy; Lairig Eilde, Glencoe; Achnambeithach, Glencoe; Loch Ba, Rannoch Moor; and a major strengthening at Stuckindroin near Ardlui.
A9 Kessock Bridge Resurfacing and Barrier Contract
Following a period of extensive consultation and engagement, Transport Scotland awarded the £13.2 million contract for A9 Kessock Bridge Resurfacing and Barrier Replacement. These essential repair works involve replacing the original 31 year old surfacing and repairing defects to the steel deck. The works include state-of -the -art surfacing materials to provide a higher specification more durable and long lasting surfacing. The Phase 1 started on 11 February 2013 for 17 weeks to the northbound carriageway for 17 weeks and Phase 2 is programmed to start in spring 2014 for 20 weeks. The contract is in 2 phases to avoid any works on the A9 during the peak tourist summer months of July and August.
Speed limits on Scottish trunk roads have been carefully reviewed to see if changes can help improve driver experience and increase safety. Transport Scotland has published the findings of the Speed Limit Review on its website, October 2012 and this is available at: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/road/safety/Speed-limit-review
Continually improving performance and organisation
A new Scottish Road Works Commissioner was appointed in January 2013 following the retirement of her predecessor. We will continue to support the Commissioner and her office in working to reduce the impact and duration of road works.
In 2008, Transport Scotland undertook a Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) to set out investment priorities for the next 20 years. This is targeted at facilitating better movement of people and goods to increase wealth and enable more people to share jointly in that wealth. The priority projects i.e. the Queensferry Crossing, Highland Main Line, Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvements Programme and Aberdeen to Inverness Rail Line are progressing well. In addition, Transport Scotland is continuing to work with partners and stakeholders to take forward the development and design of the other projects, such as the A96 Inveramsay Bridge Improvement Works, the A737 Dalry Bypass and the A77 Maybole Bypass.
Transport Scotland has facilitated the introduction of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) in Fife and East Renfrewshire Council areas. Under DPE, parking enforcement becomes the responsibility of the local authority, rather than the police. The benefit of DPE is that any additional revenue is kept locally and is used to improve off-street parking, traffic management and public transport. Transport Scotland continues to work closely with Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde Councils to develop similar plans for their respective areas.
During 2012-13 Transport Scotland worked with Applied Card Technologies Limited (ACT) to complete implementation of its next generation 'ITSO HOPS', a specialist ticketing transaction service. ITSO HOPS is the 'back office' data processing system for the concessionary travel scheme and smart ticketing. The service delivers enhanced performance and fraud prevention measures, and the final Gateway Review of the project (in November 2012) gave it a "green" status.
The new HOPS have also been used to develop Hotlisting, whereby inappropriately used concessionary travel passes can be identified and blocked. This is now in full use across the Scottish bus network, with very positive results, and represents yet another important element of Transport Scotland's package of anti-fraud measures. We also introduced a customer Hotline in July 2012 to enable passengers to report potential abuse of the concession scheme.
On 1 October 2012 the Deputy First Minister launched our Smart Ticketing Delivery Strategy. This is an ambitious programme to build on and develop the ticketing and back office infrastructure already in place across Scotland, with the long term vision "That all journeys on Scotland's bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram networks can be accessed using some form of smart ticketing or payment". The first phase of delivery involves working with willing partners - typically Local Authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships and transport operators - to establish pilot projects, and so far over 20 such projects are underway.
Tenders for the £415 million M8 M73 M74 Motorway NPD contract got underway in June 2012 with four major consortia invited to bid for the first round. The two consortia selected to go forward to the final tender stage was announced in February 2013. Construction is expected to commence in late 2013 with completion by 2017.
When it opens, the new section of road will shave up to 18 minutes off journeys at peak times for vehicles using this busy section of the M8 each day. It is also expected to directly support hundreds of jobs, as well as many more in the supply chain.
The Minister for Transport and Veterans announced in December 2012 a fares cap had been negotiated with ScotRail which means peak fares will be capped in January 2014 and 2015 to RPI. Current off peak fares will be frozen provided RPI remains below 3.5% per annum for the remainder of the franchise. The Minister also intends that the next ScotRail franchise will bear down further on the cost of fares for passengers, including ensuring fares will not rise above inflation and it being a condition of the next franchise that off-peak fares will change annually by 1% below inflation (RPI) from 2016.
ScotRail is currently installing new infrastructure at stations and upgrading equipment to enable more rail ticket products to be available on Smartcards. Passengers will be able to purchase season ticket products this year which will utilise these enhancements.
Transport Scotland continued to work with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) on the Fastlink project. During 2011-12 the Scottish Government committed to providing funding of up to £40 million for the project. Fastlink will provide fast access to jobs, services and communities along a key development corridor, including healthcare services at the new South Glasgow Hospitals, and improve transport links for the Commonwealth Games. It will also contribute to the Scottish Government's aim of supporting long term economic growth by acting as a catalyst for regeneration and better land use. The Fastlink core scheme will incorporate the three main transport hubs in Glasgow city centre (Glasgow Central Station, Glasgow Queen Street Station and Buchanan Bus Station) in addition to the route from the SECC to the new South Glasgow Hospital Campus in Govan.
We also continued to work with SPT on its Glasgow Subway Modernisation programme. During 2011-12 the Scottish Government announced that it will provide up to £246 million funding contribution for the scheme, estimated to cost £287.5 million in total. The substantial upgrade will deliver: new bespoke trains; refurbished stations; an upgrade of signals; integrated smartcard ticketing; and improved accessibility for passengers. This will provide an economic boost to Scotland's biggest city, link to other transport infrastructure improvements and contribute to the city's regeneration.
We set up a Bus Stakeholder Group in 2012 as a consultative body to take forward bus policy development and implementation, with representatives from across the sector including regulators, operators, transport authorities, community transport and bus users. The Group's fourth meeting was chaired by the Minister for Housing & Transport, Keith Brown MSP, on 28 February 2012. Meetings are held quarterly.
We are supporting the establishment of Bus Users Scotland, a branch of Bus Users UK, to strengthen the representation of user interests in bus policy and to provide additional on-street monitoring of bus services and arrangements for handling complaints about bus services to replace those operated by Passenger Voice Scotland, which is being disbanded from April 2013.
Following a successful trial last year all 59 c170 diesel trains will now be fitted with WiFi enabling equipment by the end of 2013. These trains operate on the main inter-city routes and will allow passengers to access WiFi on train between the seven main cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Stirling and Inverness.
The completion of phase one of the Highland Main Line Improvements project saw journey time improvements of up to 18 minutes between Inverness and the Central Belt from 9 December 2012.
Transport Scotland has been working with the Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) during 2012 and 2013 as part of a joint working group looking at how to improve the operation and make best use of RTPs and we will continue to work with the RTPs during 2013 to take forward the agreed findings from the Group once it has concluded its work.
In early 2013 we commissioned the first major customer feedback exercise on the concessionary travel scheme, with around 6,000 concession cardholders interviewed. The results of this exercise will be published later in 2013.
The capture and transmission of key information on each individual concessionary travel journey enables us to apply enhanced validation and analytical techniques to reimbursement claims before payments are made to operators for concessionary journeys. Significant financial savings continue to be made as a result of this scrutiny, with outputs being used to inform the robust application of our fraud strategy. We continue to report suspicions of fraud directly to the Crown Office. In addition to the introduction of Hot listing which blocks the recording of journeys on inappropriately used concessionary travel passes, the Unit has developed and is refining further anti-fraud measures in relation to the use of Companion cards.
A two year agreement was reached in January 2013 with the Confederation of Passenger Transport which will safeguard the National Concessionary Travel Scheme until 2015. Based on independent economic analysis, it was agreed to reduce the rate of reimbursement to bus operators from 67% to 60% in 2013-14 and to 58.1 % in 2014-15. Transitional support has been provided to operators to adjust to the new rates with an additional £10 million provided in March 2013. The agreement includes budget caps of £187 million in 2013-14 and £192 million in 2014-15. The National Bus Travel Concession Scheme for Older and Disabled Persons (Scotland) Amendment Order 2013 came into force on 1 April 2013 to implement the changes.
In February 2013, agreement was reached with City of Edinburgh Council that they would fund and put in place concessionary travel on Edinburgh trams for their residents as part of their local concessionary travel arrangements. The trams will not, therefore be included in the national scheme.
We have commissioned a research project which will take place over 2013 and 2014 to gather the views of older and disabled people about the national concessionary travel scheme. Findings will be used to inform and improve the administration of the scheme, and identify reasons for travel and perceived benefits of the scheme.
As a result of the implications of the UK Government's changes to the Welfare benefit system, Transport Scotland has introduced The Welfare Reform (Consequential Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 to allow those in receipt of specific aspects of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to passport to the Blue Badge Scheme. This arrangement is already in place for those disabled persons who receive the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance. By using the PIP award notification letter as proof, a person who falls within the criteria identified by the regulations can apply for a Blue Badge without the need to undergo an assessment by the local authority.
Transport Scotland is also assisting Dennis Robertson, MSP for Aberdeenshire West, on the consultation to introduce the Disabled Persons' Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill which will strengthen the current law to allow for better enforcement of the Blue Badge Scheme.
Other significant milestones during the year include:
- The £17 million A75 Dunragit Bypass contract was awarded in March 2013 with work expected to be completed in 2014.
- The £10 million A77 Symington to Bogend Toll contract was awarded in February 2013, with work expected to be completed in 2014.
- The £9 million A75 Hardgrove contract was awarded in February 2013, with work expected to be completed in 2014.
- The £9.2 million A82 Pulpit Rock contract was awarded in February 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2014.
- Tenders for the £415 million M8 M73 M74 Motorway NPD contract got underway in June 2012 with 4 major consortia invited to bid for the first round. The 2 consortia selected to go forward to the final tender stage was announced in February 2013. Construction is expected to commence in late 2013 with completion by 2017.
- The OJEU notice inviting expressions of interest to tender for the A82 Crianlarich Bypass was issued in February 2013.