Paddle on parliament

Yes, it’s consultation time again! This time it’s a survey for the Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 (or STPR2 to its pals) – which will put a bit more flesh on the bones of the National Transport Strategy (which we wrote about last year). We said then that the new strategy said all the right things and ticked all the right boxes – but was sadly short on specifics. Well, this is your chance to have your say on the priorities for transport investment over the next 20 years and really help shape the future. Because it doesn’t matter what sort of warm words the politicians come out with, if they then spend 20 years building motorways and dualling A-roads, the end result will be more cars, more driving, more pollution, more congestion, and all the rest of it. So we need to make sure that other, more sustainable modes of transport are at the top of the agenda

The bad news is, the survey closes on the 10th January (because running a consultation exercise over Christmas must have made sense somewhere in the corridors of power). The good news is, it’s actually quite a nice and simple one for once, so there’s no excuse not to chip in. Note that if you live in North East Scotland, Scottish Borders and South West Scotland then there have already been reports done so it won’t let you respond for those regions – but you can still respond on a Scotland-wide basis.

The survey will ask you about how satisfied you are with various aspects of the walking (and wheeling), cycling, bus, train and road network – with a separate page for transport to and from the islands. Presumably, the areas where people are least satisfied are those which will hopefully be prioritised for investment over the next two decades, so don’t hold back. 

The final part of the survey asks you to suggest 5 options to be considered as part of the STPR2 development, so this is your chance to get into specifics. Cycling UK have some suggestions on their website – and if you have one handy you could do worse than consult a 7-year-old for their perspective. Our (Scotland-wide) priorities would be the following – but you may prefer to suggest something specific for your area. 

  1. Create an effective walking and cycling network within most of Scotland’s urban areas. This should offer separate provision for walking/wheeling and cycling in all busy urban areas and be suitable for all ages and abilities. Work with local authority areas to audit their existing active travel networks and develop a 20-year plan (with investment) to create them.
  2. Create a National Cycling Network worthy of the name, starting with bringing the existing NCN in Scotland up to the original design standard (suitable for an unaccompanied 12-year-old) and then expanding it to reach all areas of Scotland, link all major urban areas, and open up our coast and countryside to cycle tourism.
  3. Invest in our public transport systems to enable the seamless integration of active travel with trains, buses, ferries and trams. Work with transport companies to enable bikes to be easily carried on all trains and all rural bus services, as well as ensuring the continued expansion of the train network and halting the decline of bus services.
  4. Provide extensive long-term funding to two or three local authorities (one urban, one largely rural) to act as exemplars for investment in active travel, following the ‘mini holland’ model used in London in Waltham Forest and Enfield. Roll out the lessons learned, and the investment level (at least 10% of the transport budget) to the other council areas over the remaining years to 2040.
  5. Following the voting down of the 20mph bill, take the measures identified by the Transport Secretary as needed to audit and modify our residential streets to make them suitable for a default 20mph speed limit. Invest in making those same streets usable by all, including wheelchair users and other disabled people and the blind and partially sighted.
We need streets and infrastructure suitable for everyone. Photo (c) Iona Shepherd

The survey closes on Friday so don’t delay. You can be sure that the road lobbies and other interests will be putting in their two-pence worth so we need to counterbalance that with more sustainable options. Otherwise we face another 20 years of road building – the last thing Scotland (and the planet) needs.  You can find it here


Getting strategic – why you need to respond to the STPR2