Transport Infrastructure (Net Zero Economy)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 5th December 2019.

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Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to develop a transport infrastructure suitable for a net zero economy. (S5O-03872)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government’s commitment to taking climate action is clearly demonstrated in our draft national transport strategy. We understand that transport plays a key role in achieving our net-zero target.

That commitment is at the heart of our work on the second strategic transport projects review, which will set out our infrastructure investment priorities to help to deliver the target.

We are investing in low-carbon infrastructure. The Government has committed more than £500 million for bus infrastructure, it has doubled active travel investment to £80 million and it has spent £30 million on a comprehensive electric vehicle charging network.

Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

I thank the cabinet secretary for his encouraging response.

Over the past few years, FirstGroup has closed a number of bus routes in the Glasgow Anniesland constituency. What steps will the Scottish Government take to ensure that constituents who live outwith high-return areas are able to access sustainable public transport that allows them to continue to meet the requirements of life such as travelling to work, the doctor or the shops?

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

As we said in our programme for government, we are ambitious in relation to how we can utilise bus to support our zero-carbon targets. The member will be aware that the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 provides a range of new tools that local transport authorities can use to meet local needs and circumstances, whether they want to pursue partnership working arrangements with local bus service providers, pursue local franchising or run their own bus services.

Alongside the provisions in the 2019 act, we will bring forward transformational funding, with the biggest funding package in the history of devolution to support bus infrastructure, to make greater use of bus, tackle congestion and improve services.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, as the local transport authority, has a lead role in helping to ensure that bus services are provided where social need is identified. I encourage the member to engage with SPT on the issues in his constituency.