The Central Scotland Group continued its season of events with a meeting on 21 November 2000 that was to have been addressed by Robin Harper, MSP. Unfortunately, due to illness he was unable to attend and the meeting was addressed instead by Helen Eadie, MSP for Dunfermline East, who outlined progress with the Transport (Scotland) Bill.
The Scottish Branch Chairman, Mr. Gerry Condron, introducing Helen Eadie, MSP.
© John G. Fender 2010
The Bill is now at the end of Stage 2 of its process through the Scottish Parliament (November 2000) and is expected to be passed in early 2001. The Bill will provides a framework for local authorities and operators to work within, although it should be remembered that certain transport matters remain the purview of Westminster. During Stage 2 of the Bill's passage through the Scottish Parliament, many amendments were tabled for consideration, with some being adopted and others rejected or modified, an example being the suggestion that workplace charging be introduced. This was dropped in favour of congestion charging.
The Bill is designed to provide the means whereby local authorities can propose transport strategies to meet the needs of their areas, for example in transport integration. Helen Eadie pointed out that over the last two years there had been an increase of 45% in finance for public transport, aimed at redressing the previous lack of resources.
Members of the Central Scotland Group at the meeting of 21st November 2000.
© John G. Fender 2010
The recent fuel crisis focused attention on environmental aspects of transport and Helen Eadie highlighted the effects of CO2 emissions, global warming, flooding etc. She pointed out that many issue need to be resolved and that there are many solutions to be considered including the use of LPG, battery powered vehicles and zero emission vehicles. The Transport (Scotland) Bill lays down a framework for the planners and others to devise solutions, with the politicians trying to strike a balance between the various issued.
After her talk, Helen Eadie answered questions from the floor and there was much debate with questions and discussion covering most aspects of transport. Particular areas discussed included the needs of hauliers and logistics companies, the need to improve public transport, the difficulties local authorities had in trying to meet the requirements of different road users, the problems of congestion and the need to improve the environment.
The Central Scotland Group would like to thank G. Atkins and Edinburgh City Council for the provision of the meeting room and refreshments. The Group would also like to thank the Branch Chairman for Chairing the meeting, D. Reid for chairing the discussion session, and all of the members who supported this event.
Report by John Fender.
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