Tighter Scotland travel restrictions considered as lockdown car use rise confirmed
Car travel was down by 45 per cent in the week to Sunday on a year ago compared to being 50 per cent down in the previous week, Transport Scotland statistics showed.
The rise came despite all but essential travel being banned as part of the latest lockdown across mainland Scotland, with virtually no school run traffic as most children switched to home learning.
That follows The Scotsman revealing figures from traffic data firm TomTom which showed congestion in Glasgow this week rising to the level of two years ago – and it has now surpassed at certain times of day.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said of possible additional travel restrictions yesterday: “We are thinking about how and if we need to tighten those up.”
That followed her stating last Friday: “We are looking quite closely at traffic levels.
"We will be considering whether other restrictions are required.”
He said: "When and if we get this prevalence down, we will have to take very serious decisions about international and national travel.
"That might be between the islands and Scotland.
"It might be between Wales and Scotland. It might be internationally.
"We have to have an importation policy.
"The WHO [World Health Organisation] have said since the beginning of this pandemic, one of the things you require to manage this pandemic is something to stop importation of virus.
"And if we needed to learn that lesson again, we just need to look our own history, of June, July, August and September where we re-imported the virus and we got where we are today.”
Residents of mainland Scotland are only permitted to leave them homes for an “essential purpose”.
However, the Scottish Government has listed more than 25 examples of “reasonable excuses” to travel, including for work, education, exercise, “essential shopping”, shared parenting and caring for a vulnerable person.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “This week’s travel statistics compare the first week of January with the Hogmanay period so an increase in travel is to be expected as people return to work following the festive holidays.
"For example, weekday traffic last week was around 8 per cent higher than on Wednesday December 30.
“Scottish Government advice is clear, at this time people should stay at home and only leave for essential purposes.
“The restrictions are in place to keep people safe and help protect the NHS.
"Traffic Scotland continues to use all available channels to inform road users of travel regulations and the police continue to enforce the travel restrictions.
"People are encouraged to walk, wheel or cycle where possible when undertaking an essential journey.
“In addition, statutory guidance on working from home will come into force this weekend which would be expected to have a further impact on demand for car travel.”
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