Campaigners denounce failure to cut Scots’ car use

Road traffic has increased by 2 per cent since 2006 while 6 per cent fewer people are travelling by public transport. Picture: Michael Gillen

Road traffic has increased by 2 per cent since 2006 while 6 per cent fewer people are travelling by public transport. Picture: Michael Gillen

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MINISTERS have failed to persuade Scots to switch from cars to greener transport over the past decade, the Scottish Government’s latest transport blueprint has shown.

Road traffic has increased by 2 per cent since 2006 while 6 per cent fewer people are travelling by public transport, the latest Scottish Transport Strategy said.

Sustainable transport campaigners Transform Scotland called for a “fundamental review” of spending priorities away from road building, which includes £6 billion to dual the A9 and A96.

The strategy – an interim “refresh” of the first one ten years ago – shows 68 per cent of commuting is done by car, 1 per cent more than back then.

Bus and rail are unchanged at 10 per cent and 4 per cent respectively. Walking has fallen by 1 per cent to 13 per cent, although cycling is up 1 per cent to 3 per cent.

The report said motoring costs had increased very slightly but bus and train fares had gone up by 14-16 per cent.

Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said: “It is tragic there has been absolutely no progress over the past decade in moving people from cars on to public transport.

“Whether one wants to tackle congestion, improve connectivity, or cut emissions, the evidence in this new strategy highlights a wasted decade.”

“Over the past five years, the current administration has transferred its capital spending into building new roads at the expense of investment in sustainable transport, while the draft budget delivered a further massive hike in spending on new road-building whilst cutting investment in public transport.”

Transport minister Derek Mackaysaid road projects like dualling the A9 were vital for safety, and others for cutting congestion and emissions. He said: “There is a continued reliance on the car which we absolutely want to change. We cannot continue with substantial car use and car growth.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman added: “We have continued to invest heavily in infrastructure, and progress has been made in improved journey times and connectivity, reduced emissions and improved quality, accessibility and the affordability of public transport.”

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