The Scottish Government, through Transport Scotland, supports the City of Edinburgh Council by working with the council and transport providers to promote public transport as a viable option for visitors and local residents. The recently announced significant new funding to improve bus priority infrastructure will also support local authorities to tackle the impact of congestion on bus services.
However, the tackling of traffic congestion is the city council’s responsibility. Under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, it has a duty to manage local roads, and duties under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to secure the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic through the city.
I am sure that the cabinet secretary supports the City of Edinburgh Council’s ambitious plans to tackle congestion, including plans to introduce a low-emission zone, the city centre transformation project and plans to extend the existing network of park-and-ride facilities across the city. What can the Scottish Government do to support the extension of the network of park-and-ride facilities, such as the one at Hermiston, in my constituency?
I recognise that Edinburgh council has ambitious plans to tackle congestion in the city centre and to improve public transport infrastructure in the city overall. Some of the funding that is coming through the Edinburgh and south-east Scotland city region deal is assisting that work, alongside funding from the active travel budget with which Edinburgh has recently been provided for the George Street project, which will help to improve transport infrastructure in the city.
Park-and-ride facilities are extremely valuable, and it is important that the city council looks at how they can be developed. Local authorities such as the City of Edinburgh Council can use the bus partnership funding that we announced in the programme for government to support and develop bus infrastructure in order to improve bus journey times and patronage levels. Local authorities can look at how that ties into park-and-ride facilities. Use of the more than £500 million that we have committed through the bus partnership scheme is one route that the city council could take in the year ahead to support provision of park-and-ride facilities, alongside bus infrastructure.