Conferences 2010 - talking Scottish freight with the SNP

Posted on: Tuesday, 19 October 2010 by Mike Webb in categories Media and campaigns, SNP

FTA rounded off their conference programme with a series of meetings in the grand surroundings of Perth conference hall; temporary home to the final SNP conference before the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections.

With the SNP currently running Scotland in a minority administration, with just one seat more than Labour, there was a definite air of pre-election nerves throughout the Hall. There was a palpable feeling that the calm before the storm was about to give way to months of hard work, pavement pounding and gentle persuasion as the SNP seeks a new, bigger mandate from the Scottish people.

SNP politicians in bullish mood

The traditional rousing address from First Minister Alex Salmond was still a couple of days away – he was in Delhi collecting the Commonwealth Games goodwill on behalf of Glasgow, who will host the next Games in 2014 – however despite the work ahead the politicians with whom FTA talked transport were in a bullish mood, and ready for the campaign ahead.

Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee member Rob Gibson, for instance, was keen to talk about rail freight, and how Scotland’s rail infrastructure can be adapted to the best advantage of freight; accepting that the general political desire to see cars off roads and people on passenger trains should not come at the cost of freight path availability.

Mr Gibson is passionate about the climate change agenda, and so was also interested to hear about FTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme; and the skilled work FTA members are carrying out across Scotland to improve environmental performance.

FTA looks forward to working with the SNP

Without the pressure of standing for election next year, Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil (SNP’s longstanding Transport spokesman in Westminster) was in typically good form, and agreed to help FTA probe still further the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on Scotland, the future of lorry road user charging and how the charge would affect logistics north of the border.

FTA looks forward to working more closely with the SNP; not just on matters devolved to Holyrood, but also on issues where Scotland’s supply chain is interwoven with that of the rest of the UK.

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