Scotland’s transport system is suffering from a “chronic lack of investment” at all levels, according to bosses at Angus Council.
Roads and transportation head Walter Scott has signed off a written response to the consultation on Transport Scotland’s national strategy – the Scottish Government’s vision for the sector over the next twenty years.
It claims at least one key policy promise – “to provide a transport system that is equally accessible for all’ is “not considered to be deliverable.”
It also repeatedly requests further “clarity” on key points and says some links between “challenges” and the policies meant to tackle them are “poor”.
Mr Scott’s response, sent before the consultation closed on October 23 but presented to communities councillors this week, highlights the effect of continued budget cuts and warns the strategy “may raise false expectations” among local communities, with councils potentially carrying the can for any perceived failings.
It states: “The transport system in Scotland at all levels is suffering from an overall chronic lack of investment.
“At a local government level diminishing revenue settlements presents a challenge on what can be done to maintain the current level of our transport systems and to develop these in an affordable and sustainable way.
“Without targeted and additional funding for local government for transport systems, Angus Council’s ability to deliver services to our largely rural communities with the changing demographics will face even more difficult decisions.
He said the strategy “does not provide comfort on the necessary investment to deliver” and without that the council would be increasingly seen as the “key local… under-provider”.
The draft National Transport Strategy 2 redefines investment priorities, attempting to “put sustainable and public transport at the heart of decision-making”.
Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor said: “It is a good response and exactly what we have been saying on (regional transport partnership) Tactran.
“We do require more clarity but I think we are going, no pun intended, down the road in the right direction,” he said.
Scottish Government transport secretary Michael Matheson hailed the strategy in its foreword.
He said it would “create great places – a sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system which promotes prosperity, health and fairness for all of our citizens.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have received a wide range of responses to the consultation and these are currently being analysed to inform the final strategy.
“The strategy sets out a compelling vision for the kind of transport system we want for Scotland over the next 20 years, one that protects our climate and improves lives. It also supports Scotland’s ambitious climate change agenda and our transport system must help deliver our net-zero 2045 emissions target.
“The Scottish Government has ensured our partners in local government receive a fair funding settlement – despite further cuts to the Scottish Budget from the UK Government – delivering a funding package of £11.2 billion for all local authorities in 2019-20. This is a real terms increase of more than £310 million for essential public services in Scotland.”