GREENS PROPOSE A CONSTRUCTIVE SOLUTION TO EDINBURGH TRANSPORT IMPASSE

Greens will propose an alternative way forward in tomorrow’s debate(Wednesday 27th) in the Scottish Parliament on transport. Greens back trams, and have lodged an amendment proposing an examination of alternatives to the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link.       
Greens say that Edinburgh Airport could be better connected to the national rail network through for example, an interchange at Gogar and extending the tram line, as well as a possible additional station on the main Fife rail line.
       
The SNP says its opposition to the trams and EARL is based on the fact that it stood in the election on a platform of opposing them, yet the election figures show that votes for parties that supported trams won an overwhelming majority. 
       
The Libdems, Labour and Tories are in favour of both schemes. Greens back the Tram scheme, and agree with Scotland’s key sustainable transport organisations that EARL is the wrong project, in the wrong place, at too high a price and is predicated on a massive increase in air travel. 
       
The Audit Scotland report published last week also showed that the financial management of the tram scheme is under control, but that the EARL project has many failings and uncertainties.
       
Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “The two projects should be considered separately and I share the frustration of many people that the other parties continue to pretend that these projects are inseparable. There is no doubt now, especially after the Auditor General’s report, that the trams should go ahead and the SNP would be wise to accept the majority vote in Parliament.

“On EARL, we agree with the SNP and the Auditor General that the case looks shaky to say the least. There are alternatives, not least in making maximum use of the tram scheme in conjunction with improved rail services around the airport. These could be delivered for a fraction of the cost of EARL and should be explored.

“Our amendment separates out the two issues, and seeks to make some constructive suggestions on the airport link issue. Having said that, basing EARL’s business plan on massive expansion of the airport is absurd and untenable if we are serious about tackling climate change – and nobody wants to be responsible for another Scottish public project that ends in financial disaster.”