Our Plan for Scotland

Low-carbon transport

Low-carbon transport

We will help build a low-carbon transport system for Scotland through a commitment to public transport, expansion of provision for electric vehicles and active travel. We will:

  • Accelerate plans to speed up rail services from the central belt to Aberdeen and Inverness, and improve cross-rail services through Scottish cities;
  • Commit to a contactless payment system for travel across Scotland, making public transport easy and giving automatic access to the lowest fares;
  • Use the power of the Scottish Government through its contract payments to bus companies, and the potential new power of a public-sector operator for Scotrail, to force the pace on development of the contactless payment system, and for integrated transport;
  • Support the continued development of infrastructure for electric vehicles, including shore power for ferries;
  • Extend the benefits of electric vehicles into remote areas of Scotland, supporting the pilot project in the Highlands and incentivising island communities to use electric vehicles fed by power generated locally from renewables to cut the import of expensive hydrocarbons. This could include “scrappage” grants to help islanders convert to hybrid vehicles to replace old, polluting cars;
  • Continue to make the case for a High Speed Rail network that covers the whole of the UK, with continued progress to a route through to Scotland from London;
  • Conduct a feasibility study for extending the Borders’ Railway from Tweedbank to Hawick and Carlisle, along with other potential route re-opening opportunities;
  • Retain Air Passenger Duty, with the present lifeline exemptions, given the climate change risks of unlimited expansion in aviation;
  • Take forward the Cleaner Air For Scotland strategy and, as a matter of urgency, support weekly monitoring and enforcement action at the ten worst streets for pollution in Scotland to reduce the number of high-polluting vehicles on these roads.

We will make cycling and walking safer and continue to aim to meet the existing target of 10 per cent of journeys to be by bike by 2020. We are attracted to the idea of securing savings in the road-building budget each year to devote to cycling. We will:

  • Increase the share of the transport budget that is spent on cycling and active transport by adding £20 million of capital spending;
  • Support safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists with more dedicated and segregated cycle lanes;
  • Encourage the extension of 20mph speeds in village, town and city centres;
  • Revise the current Cycling by Design guidelines to reflect international best practice and increase their authority to make them core national standards, ensuring safe provision for cyclists and pedestrians is built into the road system.