Christine Jardine, MP for Edinburgh West, is urging the UK Government to put green issues at the centre of UK connectivity and make Edinburgh a crucial transport hub for Scotland.
The Union Connectivity Interim Report, published on March 10 2021, commits the Government to £20m for projects including upgrading the A75 between Gretna, Dumfries and Stranraer and faster rail links between Scotland and England.
The Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson welcomed the report but suggested that investment would not go far enough and called for more encouragement for both the aviation and oil and gas industries to become more sustainable and promote a green recovery.
The Liberal Democrats recently called for a £150bn investment in green projects over the next three years.
Speaking in a Westminster Hall Debate on the report, Ms Jardine said:
“Whilst I welcome the small investment and improvements to connectivity outlined in the interim report, I am deeply concerned that this just isn’t enough. It is a drop in the ocean.
“Transport connectivity is vital to economic recovery and through that improving the lives of people throughout the United Kingdom.
“I believe that in Edinburgh we are well placed to play a significant role as we already provide a gateway to the UK from abroad and to Scotland from the rest of the UK for millions of visitors and busines travel every year.
“The direct tram link between Edinburgh Airport, the business park and the city centre, also make Edinburgh an ideal connectivity hub and I would strongly urge the UK Government and Scottish Governments to work collaboratively to make this happen.
“Our airports, and wider aviation industry and the thousands of jobs they support, are also facing the greatest crisis in their history and we need to both help them through that to ensure their transition to a green recovery.
“Both rail and aviation have a vital role to play in the UK’s economic recovery from covid-19 and in achieving net zero by 2050, yet to do so it needs certainty on long-term schemes, like HS2 Eastern Leg and making Edinburgh a Connectivity Hub.”