New transport commission launches in Falkirk
As motorists continue to panic buy petrol from forecourts throughout the area, a new body has been formed to develop a “coherent vision for transport and connectivity” across the region.
The Forth Valley Connectivity Commission will consider how a joined-up approach can better meet the region’s mobility needs, as action is taken to meet the Scottish Government’s commitment for Scotland to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
With major investments in the regional economy under way – the Falkirk Growth Deal – the commission will consider how enhanced connectivity can bring added value, maximising productivity while driving cleaner, socially inclusive growth.
Chaired by Bob Duff, former group vice president of global engineering giant Jacobs, the commission’s membership comprises representatives from the Forth Valley’s economic base, alongside public transport providers and the region’s three local authorities.
This regional representation is complemented by the expertise of Professor Iain Docherty, Dean for the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Stirling, and Ross Martin, former economic adviser to the Scottish Government – both of whom played a formative role in the Glasgow Connectivity Commission.
Chairman Mr Duff said: “The Forth Valley is a major economic centre, but its future is at a crossroads.
"There’s no doubt that Scotland’s transition to a net zero economy will involve far-reaching, disruptive changes, and it’s clear that we need to think differently if the region is going to survive and thrive in this changing economic and social landscape.
“The challenge facing the Forth Valley Connectivity Commission is to bring fresh thinking to the region’s connectivity.
"Through original proposals and a joined-up, regional approach, the Commission will set out a blueprint for how enhanced connectivity can support the Forth Valley’s transition to net zero, through driving inclusive and sustainable growth.”
Another commission member Douglas Duff, Falkirk Council’s acting head of development services, added: “The new Commission will ensure the many opportunities we have to reach the ambitious national net zero targets by 2045 are fully maximised across the Forth Valley area.
"Bringing together both the region’s private and public sectors will ensure better collaboration and good practice, meaning we can achieve more, sooner. In Falkirk, we are already making progress towards this, aiming to become a net zero Council by 2030 and embarking on ambitious schemes such as the Falkirk Investment Zone, which recognises the major opportunities to reduce carbon emissions at Grangemouth.”
The commission will take evidence from key stakeholders across the Forth Valley throughout the autumn, with a full report and set of recommendations to be published by the end of 2021.
Professor Docherty said: “There are three, interlocking challenges that facing the Forth Valley: the decarbonisation of its industrial base, the long-term economic recovery of its communities, and the need to plan for a future where patterns of employment, socialising and access to services may look markedly different from today.
“Our response to COVID-19 has disrupted established ways of doing business, with a shift towards remote working, greater active travel, and the rise of ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’. While these changes may be incremental, it’s clear that we will need to continue to adapt if Scotland is to succeed in becoming a net zero nation.”