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Groundbreaking D&G Transport Summit

Published: 22 Aug 2016 17:45
Part of:
Transport

Transport Review announced to support Scottish economy

In a first for Scotland, a Transport Summit was held in Dumfries today bringing together transport professionals, locally elected politicians, and business representatives and some of the key issues for the area had a good hearing.

The summit which was set up to help identify the transport challenges and opportunities for the region's future, was hosted by Deputy First Minister John Swinney and chaired by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

The discussion covered a variety of issues from local issues at Springholm, to the strategic international importance of the A75 as a route to Europe.

Mr Yousaf announced at the summit a review of the National Transport Strategy (NTS) which will set out transport policy across Scotland for the next 20 years. The review of the NTS will inform an update to the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) – reassessing recommendations for strategic transport infrastructure priorities in Dumfries & Galloway and for the rest of Scotland.

A draft report on the outcomes of the summit will be published within four weeks to enable public feedback to contribute to the debate.

Speaking at the Summit in the Easterbrook Hall on the Crichton Campus, Mr Swinney said:

"We recognise the vital part the transport network plays in supporting a strong and vibrant Scottish economy and today's summit has allowed us to lay out the region's transport track record, and provide a forum to hear directly from those who rely so heavily on local and national transport networks and who will play an important part in shaping its future.

"The views expressed by local representatives, businesses and communities here in Dumfries and Galloway today are the start of the process in the NTS review. The review will engage stakeholders, local authorities, regional transport partnerships, operators, businesses and most importantly the public - to help identify a shared vision for the future of transport in Scotland, and map out a clear pathway which will identify, interrogate and deliver future strategic infrastructure improvements.

"We have made our commitment to Scotland's infrastructure clear, most recently with our announcement to accelerate capital funding worth £100 million this financial year. This extra investment provided in the wake of the EU referendum will speed up the delivery of key infrastructure projects and, coupled with the £6 billion worth of projects currently under construction on the ground across the country, will help support and stimulate Scotland's economy and boost confidence.

"We want to act now and prepare for the future to ensure we give our economy all the help we can. The task is not insignificant, but I believe Dumfries & Galloway has a vital role to play and will rise to the challenge."

Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf added:

"The Scottish Government has invested heavily in the region's roads to improve and enhance connectivity for local communities and road freight travelling to and from the key transport hub at Cairnryan. This includes the £17 million Dunragit Bypass, the £9 million Hardgrove to Kinmount project as well as widening sections at Barfil and Bettyknowes, Planting End to Drumflower and Newton Stewart worth £9.2 million. This is all on top of nearly £60 million investment in ongoing maintenance for the A75, nearly £34 million on the A76, and £43 million on the A77 since 2007.

"But we want to do more.

"The trunk roads in the south of Scotland are vital links to Cairnryan, to central Scotland and to England, and as part of a full review of the NTS and STPR we will consider further improvements to major roads in the region. We will look at how we improve road connections including between Dumfries and the M74 with its links north and south and rail connections too will be examined to ensure we strike the right balance of transport investments.

"Today is the start of our engagement with stakeholders here in Dumfries as we chart out a way ahead. We want to garner views from all those with an interest in improving transport links in Dumfries and Galloway to ensure we deliver - hand in hand with our partners - the right transport infrastructure for the region."

Notes to editors

1. The National Transport Review is expected to deliver:

• A strong, Scotland-wide demonstration of partnership working with stakeholders such as COSLA, Regional Transport Partnerships, transport operators, local authorities, businesses and the travelling publics.

• The publication of a reference document (NTS2) with an updated vision and strategy endorsed and 'owned' by all.

• An associated outcomes framework to focus delivery of that vision and strategy, setting out contributions needed from all partners across all sectors.

• The articulation of a coherent transport narrative reflecting the Programme for Government and the principles of prosperity, fairness and participation; and with clearer alignment with SG National plans, Policies and Strategies, such as the National Planning Framework, Digital Strategy, RPP3, Infrastructure Investment and Community Planning.

• The articulation of priorities for the revised Strategic Transport Projects Review (which would form part of the deliverables for NTS2).

• Clarification and possible modification of existing roles and responsibilities, as between central and local government and service providers.