Reallocating road space away from cars to be stepped up - Nicola Sturgeon

More space on roads will be switched from cars to cyclists and walkers, Nicola Sturgeon announced today

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 9:12 pm
Temporary new cycle lanes could become permanent. Picture: The Scotsman.
Temporary new cycle lanes could become permanent. Picture: The Scotsman.

A big push to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles to cut emissions was also unveiled as part of the Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead.

The Programme for Government (PFG) will see spending on walking and cycling of £500 million over the next five years.

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Lanes on motorways around Glasgow will also be dedicated to buses and other vehicles carrying multiple passengers.

‘Transformational’

The PFG stated: “Addressing cycling and walking infrastructure challenges through space reallocation will alleviate pinch points and ensure transition from lockdown doesn’t result in a surge in private car use.

“To support this, we will commit to just over £500m over five years for active travel, including for local authorities and others to bid in for funding of large scale, transformational active travel infrastructure projects, reallocating road space in favour of walking, cycling and wheeling over cars.”

The move follows £39m being allocated during lockdown for councils to introduce more cycle lanes and space for pedestrians, such as by narrowing streets for other traffic.

The PFG said these “Spaces for People” changes could now become permanent.

It said the moves were designed to “lock in” the increase in cycling during lockdown.

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Covid-19 offers unique chance to reallocate road space

“Local authorities now have the opportunity to review the temporary infrastructure projects – turning many of them

into permanent schemes.”

Zero deaths

On road safety, a new target of zero deaths or serious injuries by 2050 will be part of an updated strategy, which will include interim targets.

The document said hydrogen would play a “key role” in cutting emissions as Scotland moved towards its target of being a net zero emitter by 2045.

Hydrogen

It said a “zero emission heavy duty vehicle programme” would be established to accelerate the development of hydrogen vehicles.

At least £1m funding would be provided in the current financial year to next March, with a hydrogen fuel cell testing facility for powering vehicles being established next year.

Funding of £6.9m will also be provided to gas supplier SGN’s H100 project at Levenmouth in Fife which will be a “world‑first programme using green hydrogen”

to heat around 300 local homes and create and estimated 100 jobs in its first phase.

The PFG stated: “ We will also establish a new resource to support research and product development in zero emission mobility through pooling academic

capability and enabling collaborations."

A bus partnership fund is to be launched to help councils tackle congestion to speed up buses and make them a more attractive option.

Hydrogen-powered double decker buses are due to start operating in Aberdeen later this year, which follow the use of hydrogen single deckers in the city over several years.

Ferries

The PFG also said a long-term plan and investment programme for new ferries and development at ports would be devised “to improve resilience, reliability, capacity, and accessibility, increase standardisation, and reduce emissions to meet the needs of island communities.”

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