NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SCOTLAND
71. Place competitiveness relies heavily on adequate investment in infrastructure, including transport and communications networks, utilities, schools and other public services. Small economies have the potential to adapt to changing economic circumstances more readily than their larger competitors. However, a common thread running through all economic scenarios is the importance of infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure. A global recession would emphasise Scotland's peripherality, while global economic success would provide opportunities to expand world markets for Scottish goods and services. Either would bring pressure to improve Scotland's global connections. Success will bring more planning challenges than failure, with a growing economy generating increased traffic and transport capacity problems, while also stimulating demand for housing, services and amenities in successful locations, particularly the cities.
72. Over the next 25 years Scotland will face significant development pressures, particularly on the east side of the Central Belt where urban expansion could result in journey times getting longer. In parts of urban Scotland, the trunk road network and public transport systems require investment to address problems of congestion and unreliability. In some rural areas, improvements in transport infrastructure are needed to support economic activity and improve access to social facilities. Much remains to be done to achieve a transport system which matches Scotland's needs and potential.
73. The trend towards greater mobility, in particular heavy reliance on the private car, is giving rise to growing congestion and pollution and eroding environmental quality. However, there is a public consensus in favour of action to reduce congestion and the environmental impacts of car use. A key determinant of Scotland's environmental performance over the next 20 years will be the extent to which it is possible to effect a shift to more sustainable modes of transport, and more sustainable patterns of transport and land use.
PLACE COMPETITIVENESS RELIES ON ADEQUATE INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE