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National Planning Framework for Scotland




photo42. The Executive's transport policy is based on supporting the promotion of economic growth, promoting social inclusion and accessibility, ensuring that the development of transport is sustainable and minimising the environmental impact of travel. This has been accompanied by a major shift in the balance of public sector investment towards more sustainable transport options while maintaining and enhancing the trunk road network and supporting maintenance of the local road network.

43. Improvements are being seen in sustainable transport such as trains, buses, trams, ferries, cycling and walking to help to stimulate modal shift away from cars. Targeted improvements on the motorway and trunk road network are also tackling some of the critical congestion spots while freight facilities grants are being used to stimulate modal shift in freight from road to rail and water.

44. Stabilising road traffic volumes over the next 20 years is an ambitious target which alone would transform the sustainability of Scotland: reducing growth in fossil fuels requirements; helping to meet existing commitments on emissions of greenhouse gases; and reducing air pollution. It is fully in line with the three priorities for sustainable development - reducing the use of resources, making better use of energy, and tackling congestion while minimising wasteful journeys.

45. The last 20 years have seen substantial improvements in Scotland's transport system (see Map 8), with major investment in the strategic road network in particular. The M74 motorway has improved road links to the South. The A90 has been dualled to Aberdeen to support the expansion of oil-related activity and a City Bypass constructed around Edinburgh. Long-distance routes such as the A1 and A7 links to England have been improved. The construction of the M77 has strengthened the link between Ayrshire and the Glasgow conurbation. There have been important improvements to the trunk road network in the Highlands, with a new bridge linking Skye to the mainland and other new bridges at Kessock, Dornoch and Cromarty. There has also been investment in improved provision for cyclists. The volume of traffic on Scotland's roads has grown by 18% between 1993 and 2002.


46. The rail network has been improved and extended. The number of rail passenger journeys originating in Scotland grew from 55 million in 1991 to over 67 million in 2001 (an increase of almost 20% over the decade), but slipped back to 62 million in the year to March 2003. The successful reopening of the Edinburgh to Bathgate line has encouraged investigation of the potential for further expansion of the network. New commuter stations have been opened at Beauly, Bridge of Allan, Dyce in Aberdeen and on the Strathclyde Passenger Transport network. Two new stations were opened recently to the east of Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Crossrail scheme. To the West, Edinburgh Park Station was opened in December 2003.


47. Across Scotland, roads have been adapted to give a degree of priority to bus services or otherwise encourage travel by bus. Measures include bus priority lanes, new and improved bus stations, improved passenger interchanges and park-and-ride facilities. There is evidence that the long-term decline in bus usage is being reversed. The number of passengers carried by local buses has increased in each of the last 3 years.

48. In 2002, 154 million tonnes of goods were transported by road. This compares with 7 million tonnes of freight moved by rail, much of which was the movement of coal, mainly from Hunterston and opencast mines in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Fife to power stations at Longannet and Cockenzie and in England. A significant proportion of the rest was cement from Dunbar to terminals in Leith and Glasgow. Good progress has been made in restoring rail freight services to the Highlands over the last 10 years. Large quantities of timber and oil are now being moved by rail and consumer goods are being transported by rail container as far north as Caithness. However, the potential for viable rail freight services north of the Central Belt is limited by train weight and length restrictions.

photo49. Ports make a vital contribution to the economy, providing vital links between internal and external transport networks. In 2002 Scottish ports handled 124 million tonnes of freight. The Sullom Voe and Flotta terminals provide deep water harbour facilities for the bulk export of oil and over 5 million tonnes of granite aggregates per annum are shipped from the coastal quarry at Glensanda. Domestic and international ferries provide lifeline services to the Highlands and Islands and important tourism and trading links. In 2002, a new daily ferry service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in Belgium was established. 2003 saw the establishment of a new cruise ferry service linking Shetland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Norway (see Map 9). There have also been substantial improvements in the Highlands and Islands, with upgraded piers and harbours and modern car ferries replacing older vessels.


50. The five main airports in Scotland are Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick, Aberdeen, and Inverness. There is also an airport at Dundee and nine smaller airports provide lifeline services to communities in the Highlands and Islands. Services from Newcastle Airport are accessible from parts of the South of Scotland. Passenger numbers through Scottish airports almost doubled in the 10 years to 2002, to reach 19.8 million per annum. The expansion of the services offered by the low-cost airlines has made a major contribution to this growth. Passenger traffic has grown fastest at Prestwick and Edinburgh. Prestwick has grown most rapidly (44% per annum), but from a low base. Traffic through Edinburgh has grown by 10% per annum from a much larger base. While growth at Glasgow has been slower (6% per annum), it still has the largest passenger throughput.

51. The main airports have developed distinct roles. Glasgow offers direct services to North America and supports the widest range of holiday charter flights. A new service between Glasgow and Dubai is due to start in April 2004. Edinburgh has key roles in relation to business traffic, the international short-haul scheduled network and express freight and air mail services. Direct flights between Edinburgh and Newark, New Jersey, are due to start in June 2004. Prestwick has seen a rapid expansion of low-cost services and has a lead role in heavy freight. Services from Aberdeen reflect the needs of the oil and gas industry, with scheduled flights to Bergen and Stavanger and a large heliport serving offshore installations. It also offers services to France, Ireland, Denmark and the Faroe Islands and a range of charter flights. Dundee Airport offers scheduled services to London City. Inverness provides the only scheduled air services from the Highlands and Islands to London and a domestic air transport gateway to the Islands. In the Highlands and Islands, lifeline services have benefited from investment in new aircraft and airport infrastructure.


52. The six cities are key hubs in Scotland's transport system and the air services available from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen give these cities important international gateway functions. The Glasgow Conurbation has the second largest commuter rail network in the UK. Perth, Ayr, Dumfries, Fort William and Oban are also important regional transport hubs and interchanges. The Zeebrugge ferry service has established Rosyth as an important European gateway for freight and tourist traffic. The ports of the South-West are gateways for traffic from Ireland. Aberdeen and Lerwick have important gateway roles for Scandinavian and North Atlantic links. The rapid expansion of air services from Prestwick is making an important contribution to Scotland's international connectivity.