The St Andrews rail campaign has come to a standstill because Transport Scotland owe the group tens of thousands of pounds.
Members of the StARLink campaign have revealed that they have been waiting five months for Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland to pay the bill for an appraisal study.
The group’s Scottish Transport Appraisal (Stag) has been in the works since 2020, with their latest submission completed back in May.
“You’re talking about six figure costs,” said Jane Ann Liston, StARLink convenor.
“You would have to do an awful lot of jumble sales and coffee mornings to make enough money for that.”
This fund helps campaigns to tackle transport issues across the country.
But the group cannot progress with their bid until Transport Scotland “wakes up,” processes their submission and pays the consultants who carried out the work – Stantec.
That means, Jane Ann says, the Stag process has come to a standstill.
“Not only have they not come up with their comments yet, they have not paid StARLink, so we cannot pay our consultant.
“So every so often an email comes [from Stantec] asking what’s happening because they need £66,000.”
“The StARLink campaign has £500 in the bank, so we can’t do anything about that.
“Now we have to wait until the middle of October until they sign things off – that’s disgraceful.”
I’m delighted that the first round of funding from the local rail development fund – won by @scotgp during budget negotiations earlier this year – has been announced with @StARLinkRail & @NTSCampaign among those receiving funds. pic.twitter.com/vfKDaOo8Bn
— Mark Ruskell (@markruskell) August 10, 2018
A Transport Scotland spokesperson admitted that there have been delays with processing the submission, as well as providing the payment.
The Transport Scotland spokesperson said:
“We empathise with the campaigners’ position and acknowledge that there have been some delays.
“We have committed to StARLink to respond to their STAG appraisal by the 18th October and we are progressing any grant payments due to them.”
However, this is not good enough for the StARLink campaigners who have been waiting since 1989 to see their plans come to fruition.
StARLink secretary, Mr Dita Stanis-Traken, isn’t satisfied.
He said: “I will be happy when the funds are confirmedly lodged in the StARLink bank account to allow us to make payment to the transport consultants, Stantec.”
“At least we have a date,” Jane Ann said, “but five months in total is still far too long for a response.
“Let us hope there are no more delays.”
We have approached Stantec for comment.