Planning & Environment

It may not sell newspapers, but we were treated yesterday to the good news story that the M74 extension will be completed 2 months ahead of schedule and a staggering 9 months before the contractual deadline. While the political imperative of the Commonwealth Games and the associated regeneration promises no doubt had something to do with the result, it’s good to have another reminder that we can deliver successful outcomes on transport projects in Scotland.

And transport is on my mind this week after attending the Herald’s Transport Summit at the Hilton last Friday. Delegates were treated to a multi-modal extravaganza with senior representatives from the (Scottish) world of aviation, marine, freight and passenger travel contributing to some lively panel discussions throughout the day, in a rare display of transport integration!

Despite the different challenges facing the different sectors – from security issues at airports to over zealous traffic wardens fining delivery lorries (to the tune of £1m a year apparently…) – the themes of connectivity, sustainability, and public private partnership were never far from the agenda. Interestingly, when each of the panelists was offered a hypothetical £500m by the chair to spend however they wished, reinstatement of the Route Development Fund was the most popular answer.

The day would not have been complete without some gnashing of teeth over missed opportunities (largely from delegates it has to be said) – GARL, Crossrail, and the container terminal at Hunterston to name a few, but then old transport projects never die, they just… lose their positive NPV?

Karen Hamilton
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