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Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

Green MSP Voices Concern Over Transport Strategy

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

There is a Bias Away from Rail Says Eleanor Scott

The response to the HiTrans Draft Regional Transport Strategy from Eleanor Scott, Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, expresses concern at the lack of proposals for improvement of the Far North Line.  Dr Scott has spelled out her concerns in a submission to the consultation which closed last week.

Dr Scott said, “My overall impression of the Draft Regional Transport Strategy is that there is a bias towards building up the region’s air transport and road system and less so the rail network, especially the Far North Line from Inverness to Wick/Thurso.  It is astounding that the only suggested improvement to the Far North rail link is the provision of a new station at Conon Bridge, 12 miles north of Inverness.  This bias away from rail indicates a lack of recognition of the importance of the rail network for local businesses, local people and the region’s tourism industry.  This is extraordinary given the urgent need to tackle climate change.

“HiTrans Regional Strategy appears to contain little or no attempt to integrate public transport through the Highlands and Islands.  There is a danger that money will be flung at the prestigious projects without a real sense of where the priorities lie.  Given the bias away from rail, I would question whether all the priorities in the Regional Strategy are the most sensible ones.”

Notes

The full text of the Draft Regional Transport Strategy can be found at www.hitrans.org.uk