MSPS has been warned that in initiating a green transport revolution, Scotland could be “left behind” unless proposals become more ambitious.
To deliver “inclusive, net zero and sustainable growth” the Scottish Government has laid down its draft infrastructure investment plan for 2021-2022 to 2025-2026.
The Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) charity, however, said that while the plans from the Scottish government are welcome, further investment is required in public transport and green mobility hubs.
CoMoUK raised concerns about the lack of new, additional support for low-carbon transport in response to the government’s public consultation and cautioned against moving toward further high-carbon investment.
The organization has also called for the implementation of behavioral improvements brought on by the pandemic to facilitate safe transportation alternatives.
The charity, however, welcomed the strategy’s recognition of the environmental effects of investment in infrastructure and its commitment to the objectives of reducing pollution.
By letting people use transportation without having to own it, shared transport and mobility hubs will help achieve net zero emissions – transitioning to services such as car clubs and bike sharing schemes that have lower impacts on the environment and transport infrastructure.
Mobility hubs provide space where, along with active and shared transport, public transportation is accessible.
In 2003, the German city of Bremen developed 10 hubs, which have since grown to over 30 across the city.
“Shared transport and mobility hubs can play a vital role in enabling people to travel sustainably and, in particular, not own a car, which in turn will be key to achieving the Scottish Government’s ambitious target of net zero driving by 2045,” said Lorna Finlayson, Scotland’s director of CoMoUK.
“Mobility hubs are already widely used in Europe and North America, and research has shown that these hubs have positive environmental impacts.”
She added: “We are not supposed to fall behind here in Scotland.” Our current and future infrastructure plans should include mobility hubs.
They exemplify infrastructure that is climate-resilient and deliver a cost-effective solution to achieving both a green recovery and a well-being economy.’
“The Scottish Government can seize this opportunity to invest in climate resilient infrastructure to drive a green recovery.”
More creativity from ministers has also been called for by the Scottish Greens – citing the availability of free public transport.
“Transport emissions have been rising in Scotland and are playing a major role in the Scottish Government’s continued failure to meet its greenhouse gas targets,” said Scottish Greens transport spokesman John Finnie.
The key to helping people improve their travel habits is to make public transport a practical choice. Our free bus travel policy for under 19s, which will come into effect next year, will make a difference to young people and their families, but it is crucial that we do not stop with the under 19s.
“The Green Party has already called on the Scottish Government to raise its ambition and provide free bus travel for every young person, and we believe Scotland should work towards free public transport for all in the coming years, as part of an integrated, publicly owned and operated transport system in which hubs will play a key role.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said, “Enabling the transition to net zero is a core theme of the Infrastructure Investment Plan draft.” With over £ 8 billion to support environmental protection and the move to net zero emissions over the next five years, we are providing a strong pipeline of work that will help stimulate a green recovery.
Through our investments, we are committed to promoting the transformation of transport. Over five years, we will invest over £ 500 million in large-scale, transformative infrastructure initiatives for active transport, bike access and change of behaviour.
“The proposal requires our pledge of £ 500 million in the form of