Scotland Can Connect People

Faodaidh Alba a daoine a cheangal ri chèile

Scotland’s geography presents challenges for connecting communities, from transport to the latest broadband and digital technologies. Our Green MSPs will propose policies focused on linking people with the places and information they need to create a connected society. We want to make active, affordable travel a possibility for all, better integrating sustainable transport with modern life. Fast broadband and good mobile coverage are also essential for people and businesses in a new sustainable economy.

Establishing better connected communities is not only a key driver for future prosperity, but also empowers the people of Scotland to choose where they want to live regardless of local amenities. Developing sustainable travel options which are accessible to everyone is essential to creating a low-carbon future and reducing the impacts of climate change. Currently two-thirds of all commuting is done by car; this is not sustainable but is the only option for too many people. This is also an equality issue – women and people from deprived areas disproportionately rely on public transport. Green MSPs will channel more investment into walking and cycling for shorter journeys, and push for a reliable and efficient public transport networks for longer ones. Using the latest technologies can ensure even the most remote and rural areas of Scotland can participate in the digital economy, whilst access to services (such as e-healthcare) and participation in public life can also be improved. The Scottish Greens will urge Government to connect all corners of Scotland.

Too many people are underserved by local bus routes. Green MSPs would support re-regulation of buses to stop companies "cherry-picking" profitable routes and leaving some communities stranded. We should be bringing our railways back into public ownership too, to make sure that our public transport really meets the needs of our country.

Sarah Beattie-Smith

Our commitments

  • Funding For Active Travel

    We will work to increase the proportion of the transport budget spent on active travel to 10%. This equates to around £220 million per annum.

  • A Step-Change In Public Transport

    Regulating buses and bringing rail back into public hands can create an affordable, reliable public transport system for Scotland.

  • High-Speed Broadband Access For All

    Households and businesses throughout Scotland should have access to high-speed broadband and good telephone signal, so no part of the country is left behind.

Scotland can give walking and cycling the green light:

  • Funding for active travel. Walking and cycling improves health and is a low-carbon form of transport. Yet of the £2.2 billion of the Scottish Government’s transport budget, less than 2% is spent on active travel. Green MSPs will propose a radical boost to this funding.10% of the total transport budget would improve existing routes and making them safer, encouraging more people to walk and cycle. This would bring us more into line with other northern European countries, which have far higher numbers of trips made on foot or by bike and reduce air pollution which is estimated to cause over 2,500 deaths per year in Scotland.
  • Safe streets. Pedestrians and cyclists know where improvements to the road network are needed. A mix of public consultation and participatory budgeting could ensure road users can identify and help fix unsafe routes and junctions and we will call for measures such as 20mph speed limits in residential areas, cycle hubs at bus and train stations, better street lighting and lengthened crossing times at pedestrian crossings.
  • Safe cycling. Safety and the perception of safety on the road is vital to encouraging more people to cycle. We will work with local authorities to implement a rolling programme to improve bike paths and pedestrian routes whilst doing other routine road safety work. We also want to give every child in Scotland the opportunity to undertake on-road cycle training and will work with councils to do this.
  • Protecting the most vulnerable. We support a change in the law to ‘presumed liability’ to protect the most vulnerable road users. This ensures that when road accidents do happen, insurance companies pay compensation to casualties unless it can be proven that the casualty was at fault. We would also call for pedestrians and cyclists with additional vulnerabilities (children, older people or disabled people) to automatically be compensated, bringing Scotland in line with other major European nations.

Scotland can provide affordable, accessible public transport:

  • Better buses. Too many people are underserved by local bus routes. We would support the re-regulation of buses to stop companies ‘cherry-picking’ profitable routes and leaving some communities stranded. Regulations should include a minimum level of service guarantee; requirements to invest in making services fully accessible to all disabled people and parents; increasing energy efficient vehicles, such as electric or biowaste buses; and a renovation programme for bus stations to make them attractive places. Green MSPs will support campaigns to extend the free bus pass to unpaid carers on benefits provide enhanced support to community transport schemes.
  • Reliable rail. Green MSPs will campaign to bring the railway back into public hands at the end of the current contract. Bringing railways back into public hands could reduce fares, improve links with other transport and ensure that the service is fully accessible to all. We support creating wi-fi and 3G coverage on all intercity public transport, including in stations. Reopening of old routes, such as to Methil and Leven, dualling the Highland mainline, and a switch from road freight to rail delivery will also be targets alongside securing faster journey times to London.
  • Connecting islands. Ferries and air travel are a lifeline for many island communities. Green MSPs will campaign to keep ferry services in public hands, support the expansion of the Road Equivalent Tariff between Mainland to Orkney, and work to ensure contracts deliver highest level of reliability for islands' air passengers.
  • International travel. Aviation connects Scotland to other parts of the world for holidays and business. Travel is vital, but tax cuts benefit the richest frequent flyers more than people who save for a holiday. Cuts also bring further austerity. We will campaign to provide fast rail alternatives where possible and for airline tax to represent the industry's environmental cost.

Scotland can change road travel:

  • Address the maintenance backlog. With tightening budgets, many local authorities have struggled to keep abreast of much needed road maintenance. Our roads are in need of repair work worth £2 billion. We will call for some of the funding set aside for new roads to be redirected and channelled into maintaining our existing routes.
  • Environmental evaluation for new roads. All new road infrastructure should undergo a triple bottom line evaluation, ensuring that projects deliver tangible benefits to the economy and society and the environment is respected. Green MSPs would support any new infrastructure that meets these requirements.
  • Ban pavement parking. Green MSPs will work with the Scottish Government to legislate against parking on pavements. This would improve safety for pedestrians, particularly vulnerable people, such as the disabled, elderly and children, and reduce damage to pavements.
  • Low-carbon vehicles. Green MSPs will support the roll-out of low carbon vehicles, such as electric cars, and will encourage the development and expansion of car sharing schemes across the country. We would push for the creation of a Car Share Fund to help local authorities set up such groups and establish fleets of low-carbon vehicles.
  • Speed Awareness Courses. Drivers caught speeding currently face a £100 fine and 3 points on their licence. We support measures to offer drivers with minor speeding offences a day-long course in speed awareness, in lieu of receiving points.

Scotland can become digital:

  • Digital access. Applying for jobs, joining clubs or local events, finding out about social security, accessing digital healthcare or getting information on all aspects of life – access to the internet is becoming vital. Greens will seek to ensure that digital access is available for all.
  • High speed broadband. Vast areas of Scotland still do not have reliable access to broadband. Households and businesses throughout Scotland should have the opportunity to connect for both social, health and economic reasons. We will continue to support the Scottish Government in its endeavour to have fibre broadband reach 95% of Scotland by March 2018 and will push for faster action on the remaining 5% – the most remote and hard-to-reach places.
  • Improving IT skills. The digital technology industry generates £5 billion per year for our economy. However, many firms have expressed difficulty in finding people with the right skills. Not only that, but having the appropriate skills would allow more people to participate in digital life. Green MSPs would call for transferable digital skills to be taught in schools and for businesses to better engage with the education sector on the issue.

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