Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Logistics and Transport Body Calls for Scottish Political Parties to Address Infrastructure Concerns

Members Call For Greater Clarity on Manifesto Commitments
Shipping News Feature

SCOTLAND – Ahead of the Thursday elections for the Scottish Parliament the UK’s Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (CILT) has called for the political parties involved to address concerns that the organisation’s membership have regarding the future of Scotland’s transport infrastructure.

In a statement the CILT , whilst supporting many of the various parties manifesto promises, has raised a series of issues that it wants assurances will be addressed by the future Scottish government.

The heart of the CILT’s concerns is that they believe there is something of a lack of uniform ‘quality control’ across Scotland’s transport network, with different standards applied to different transportation mediums. CILT wants the future Scottish government to be clearer on how it is organising, regulating and funding all aspects of transport policy.

The CILT also calls for the devolved government to take greater responsibility for the country’s transportation issues, particularly with regards to rising fuel prices by advocating a Scottish fuel duty stabilisation mechanism, stating that:

‘Each time the fuel price goes up so does the tax, so the impacts on transport are more extreme than for other fuel users. Scotland cannot rely on price stabilisation schemes that are designed for densely populated parts of the UK. The Scottish government is charged with ensuring all needs are met, including those covering some of the most remote parts of Europe.‘

In addition, the organisation wishes to see a clearer allocation of accountability by the Scottish Parliament across its agencies for transport and logistics issues, clarifying what the government will and will not do to promote future transport innovation.

The Institute also wants clear financial commitments for the electrification of the Scottish railway network, freight facilities grants, and improvements to the country’s ports, with additional funding to be made as soon as possible for additional maintenance to the road and rail network to keep Scotland competitive, pointing out that:

‘Transport pays far more in tax than it gets back in public investment, so growth in the transport sector is good not just for transport but for the state of the public finances. Scotland as a peripheral nation is critically dependent on growth in the transport sector for overall economic growth.

‘Short term commitments on maintenance are needed to boost the industry. Work on maintenance can start immediately and the investment is needed regardless of the political, policy or economic strategy being adopted.’

(pic: Proposed Second Forth Road Bridge)