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National Planning Framework for Scotland




111. To compete successfully in the world economy, Scotland requires a modern, flexible and well-integrated transport system with high quality links to the rest of the UK, Europe and the world. There is a need to make good past deficiencies in the provision of transport infrastructure and the Executive is committed to international efforts to promote more sustainable patterns of transport in order to safeguard the global environment.

112. A clear long-term vision is vital because transport infrastructure is capital intensive, takes a long time to deliver and has a lifespan measurable in decades. It also helps to give developers and transport operators the certainty they need if they are to commit to major strategic investments.

113. In Building Better Transport, the Executive made a commitment to building a high quality, sustainable transport system which is accessible to everyone and which enables business to flourish. The transport budget has been increased to fund major new transport infrastructure projects. By the end of 2006 spending on transport will reach almost 1 billion per year, with 70% of that targeted on public transport.

114. The role of the Executive is to intervene where market failure would otherwise result in excessive pressure on infrastructure, inadequate transport provision, or unacceptable environmental damage. Priority is being given to limiting road traffic growth and tackling congestion. Without intervention, traffic volumes are predicted to rise by 27% by 2021, and 80% of congestion will be concentrated in and around our main urban areas. The challenges in urban and inter-urban transport are to facilitate economic growth by tackling congestion in the city regions, to complete the missing links in the transport network, to encourage a switch to more sustainable modes of transport, and to provide disadvantaged communities with better access to economic opportunities.

115. Transport issues will have to be addressed from the outset in planning for future development. They cannot be left to be dealt with as an afterthought. Development plan land allocations will require to be appraised against the capacity of the transport network; where economic growth demonstrates a need for additional supportive transport infrastructure, delivery mechanisms which maintain the balance between development and the transport network will be necessary.

116. The Executive's transport infrastructure commitments to 2010 include: delivering rail links to Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports; reopening the Airdrie to Bathgate railway and the Kincardine - Alloa - Stirling railway; constructing the Larkhall to Milngavie line; redeveloping Waverley Station in Edinburgh in co-operation with the Strategic Rail Authority; supporting construction of the Borders rail line; and continuing to support feasibility studies into the Glasgow and Aberdeen Crossrail projects. The Executive is also committed to investing in a tram network in Edinburgh and is completing the Central Scotland motorway network (upgrading the M8 and M80 and building the M74 Northern Extension) and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

117. These projects constitute a very full programme of strategic improvements and their delivery will involve the full commitment of the capital investment plan for the next decade. Over that period and beyond, the key strategic priorities are likely to remain strong external links, improved internal connectivity, and more sustainable patterns of transport and land use.

118. By 2007 the Executive will have begun work on a strategic projects review for all transport modes against clear economic, environmental and safety criteria. The review will look ahead to 2025, drawing on the spatial analysis set out in this framework. It will ensure that transport projects to facilitate development are good value for money, consistent with national policies and priorities, and appraised in accordance with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). It intends to improve the integration of transport and land use planning models to help identify development pressures and assist in the assessment of policy options.

Developing External Links

119. Scotland's position on the Atlantic seaboard makes it particularly important to respond to the changing geography of Europe and the expansion and development of European markets, and secure the connections needed to support economic development. Scotland's largest market for goods is the European Union and there is a need for more direct links. The ESDP explicitly recognises the importance of strengthening West-East links in Northern Europe. Strengthening historic links with the growing economies of the Baltic Region offers considerable potential.

120. The Executive is strongly committed to promoting a shift to more sustainable modes of transport. However, given Scotland's geographical position, good air links are vital for international connectivity and competitiveness. A Route Development Fund has been established to promote improvements in Scotland's international connections through new non-stop air services which benefit business and tourism (see Map 17).


121. Airports are also important economic development generators and improving surface access to Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports is a national priority. Air passenger numbers are projected to grow substantially over the next 25 years. Locational advantages mean that Edinburgh is likely to experience a particularly large growth in traffic. The Executive has taken steps to safeguard land for an additional runway at Edinburgh Airport and proposals for rail and tram links to the airport are being developed. The West Edinburgh Planning Framework recognises the potential of the area in the vicinity of Edinburgh Airport as an international business location capable of attracting headquarters for world-class companies.

122. Glasgow Airport will also continue to grow to serve business and holiday markets, with scope for the further expansion of low-cost and international services. The Air Transport White Paper recommends that land should be safeguarded for expanding terminal capacity and to ensure that the possibility of providing an additional runway is not foreclosed. Prestwick Airport offers flights to more than 30 destinations. It is one of Europe's fastest growing airports and has potential for further expansion and the establishment of associated service businesses. It is also an important centre for the repair and maintenance of aircraft and air traffic control. Given the anticipated growth in passenger numbers over the next 25 years, enhanced capacity may be needed on rail services connecting Prestwick Airport to central Glasgow.

123. Aberdeen Airport already provides important links to Scandinavia and a new service between Inverness and Stockholm started in March. Land should be safeguarded for runway extensions at Aberdeen and Inverness Airports.

124. Services to hub airports in the South-East of England are of crucial importance to the Scottish economy and providing Scottish travellers with good access to the global flight network, and it is essential that they are developed. However, given the congestion and capacity constraints at Heathrow and Gatwick, efforts are also being directed to developing a wider range of non-stop services and expanding the capacity of links to continental hubs such as Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Brussels.

125. Road and rail links to England are of prime economic importance and congestion and lack of infrastructure outwith Scotland can have an adverse impact on access to Europe and other parts of the UK. The economic benefits of tourism can be spread more widely if more of Scotland can be brought within 3 hours of major English cities. Reducing journey times on routes between Aberdeen and Newcastle would improve the connectivity of knowledge economy clusters in the North-East of the UK. The Executive is working with the UK Government and other bodies to take forward strategic transport infrastructure projects of mutual benefit to Scotland and the rest of the UK.


photo126. The European Union is promoting the development of well-functioning and sustainable trans-European transport networks. The Ireland - United Kingdom - Benelux road link follows the A77 and A75 trunk roads via Cairnryan, Stranraer and Dumfries. There is also now growing traffic between the South-West ports and Rosyth, with significant numbers of Irish hauliers making use of the Zeebrugge ferry link to avoid congestion on routes to England's East Coast ports. The reopening of the Kincardine - Alloa - Stirling railway and the new road bridge over the Forth at Kincardine will help to strengthen road and rail infrastructure on this strategically important new route between Ireland and the Continent.

127. The Executive is committed to improving Scotland's ferry links to mainland Europe and identifying opportunities for transporting a higher proportion of goods by sea. The Opportunities for Developing Sustainable Freight Facilities in Scotland study highlights the potential contribution of fast ferries to the movement of freight between Scotland, Ireland and the Continent and suggests that such vessels could also provide a coastal distribution service between Scottish and English ports. Scottish Enterprise will examine the potential for a second European ferry route from Rosyth.

128. The international trend is towards larger container vessels and few existing European ports offer the channel and berth depths necessary to accommodate the largest container ships. Against this background, Scotland's deep water facilities at Scapa Flow and Hunterston represent substantial opportunities (see Map 18). In view of the capacity constraints at other UK ports, there is scope for developing new transshipment and gateway facilities linked to world shipping routes.