The Minister for Transport, Stewart Stevenson, has agreed to meet the Grangemouth Transport Forum.
The meeting is the latest step in the campaign for a package of improvements in transport and infrastructure in and around Grangemouth.
The letter was received last week, a few days before the Forum met on Friday 1 May to discuss its next moves in the campaign.
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who is arranging the meeting, said that “the Transport Forum has been seeking a meeting with the Minister for some time. We want to impress upon him that the improvements are essential to the economy of Scotland, and to reducing carbon emissions, by moving freight from road to rail and sea. We are seeking improvements to road and rail, both for freight and passengers.”.
The Grangemouth Transport Forum met on Friday, and discussed recent developments including the National Planning Framework, and the Strategic Transport Projects Review. Improvements in Rail Infrastructure were also extensively discussed, including the possibility of passenger services to Grangemouth. The meeting heard that plans for electrification could be extended to allow freight trains to run direct from Grangemouth to the continent, and that this would open up a window of opportunity for passenger travel.
Cathy added: “What is clear is that the STPR is regarded as a starting point for discussion and that there is still a lot of scope to argue for improvements. The case for improvements in the Grangemouth has been accepted, but we are still one of a number of potential projects arguing for priority. What we have to do is show that the benefits of what we are proposing far outweigh the cost.”
The Grangemouth Transport Forum was set up the local Community Council and MSP Cathy Peattie, and includes among its membership Falkirk officers and elected members, MP Michael Connarty, Police, Forth Ports, Ineos, BP, SEStran, Direct Rail services, trade unions, local hauliers and the road haulage association, and Scottish Enterprise. The group is seeking road and rail improvements not only for the economic and environmental benefit of local people and local business, but for Scotland as a whole. Grangemouth is Scotland’s busiest port and its role as an intermodal freight hub, getting freight off our roads onto rail and sea, will benefit all. The case for improvements has been pushed in recent Scottish policy discussions on the National Planning Framework and the Strategic Transport Projects Review, including organising presentations on the issue in the Scottish Parliament. These have established the importance of Grangemouth. Much of the discussion has been drawn by the NPF and STPR to freight transport and much needed road development in the area, including the M9 junctions and links to the port of Grangemouth and local industry, and the A801 Avon Gorge link to the M8. The Grangemouth Transport Forum however, has also consistently championed the need for public transport improvements, including bus and rail passenger services.