Scotland faces fuel and traffic crisis

Transport rates in Scotland have risen heavily over the last year, causing concern in view of impending fuel poverty according to an environmental campaign group.

Statistics for transport published this week by Scottish ministers showed that road traffic had risen again, to reach the highest rates ever recorded in Scotland. The Scottish Executive forecast that, without action, these levels would rise by a further 27% by the end of 2021.

However, despite statements that traffic levels will be stabilised at 2001 levels by 2021, there are as yet no interim targets set to actually achieve these reductions. According to Friends of the Earth (FoE), current transport policies, skewed towards a £1 billion road-building programme, are unlikely to reach this target.

“Levels are still rising, yet the Executive remains silent on its route map for stabilising road traffic, and halting its growing contribution to climate change,” said Duncan McLaren, chief executive of FoE Scotland. “Further road building will only increase Scotland’s traffic misery and cause yet more traffic pollution. The Executive must not allow these transport problems to increase, and should step in to halt the plans while they remain in draft form.”

And these rising figures emerge amongst fears that this winter will see thousands of people in Scotland falling back into fuel poverty, due to rising energy prices.

Mr McLaren hoped that the report would shock the Executive into making far greater progress in implementing a solution to these problems. He said: “The only reliable way to eradiate fuel poverty and help to tackle climate change is to invest in improving energy efficiency.”

By Jane Kettle

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