The Scottish Parliament has overwhelmingly backed a motion calling for action to help Alexander Dennis Limited.
The motion called on the Scottish Government, “as a matter of urgency, to fund grants for acquisition of ADL buses by transport authorities and by commercial bus operators to ensure a new generation of bus-build that secures Scottish jobs and skills, world-class bus manufacturing in Falkirk and the provision of world-class transport for the Scottish public”. The motion also expressed support for the introduction of a UK-wide bus scrappage scheme.
Linking the morning’s two debates on Climate Change and Buses, Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie said that the debate on buses was “a good example of a way in which we can fulfil our climate change and other objectives. We can stimulate the economy, save jobs and provide accessible public transport and greener and environmentally friendly transport. All that we need to do is to introduce and support improvements that we are already committed to in the long term. When it comes to climate change, we cannot wait for the long term; we need to act in the short term.
“Alexander Dennis Ltd is a prime example of a successful Scottish company—based in Falkirk—that will continue to be a successful Scottish company if it overcomes the economic downturn that has come about as a result of the recession. We need new hybrid bus technology. There are enormous benefits to building technology here in Scotland—benefits to people and in terms of the economy and climate change. I urge the Scottish Government to heed the voices that are being raised in support of that.”
Cathy, who is the Labour parliamentary spokesperson on Climate Change, was summing up in the Climate Change debate.
She said that “much has been made of the ground-breaking nature of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, and rightly so. Now, we need to move forward rapidly on the basis of that legislation, matching it with equal ambition and action.
“Housing and transport clearly offer scope for individual and collective action. The Scottish Government must facilitate and encourage such action through awareness raising, public engagement and leading by example … not only in respect of its own property and vehicles but through its ability to direct public bodies and local authorities and through its influence on business, the voluntary sector and home owners.
“There is the potential to develop more active travel and adopt cleaner, lower-carbon vehicles. We must, however, ensure that active travel is safe and easy. There is little point in encouraging children to use bicycles if it is not safe for them to cycle on the roads to school.
“Renewables are an essential element of our climate change programme, and it is difficult to understate the importance of green jobs to our economic future.
“The Scottish Government’s role in promoting action is particularly important when it comes to public procurement and public engagement. I know that they have consulted local authorities and other public bodies, but it is about time that they came back to Parliament with the results of that exercise and recommendations for those public duties.
“It is vital that public duties recognise the role that procurement can play in setting examples and stimulating innovation in the development of low-carbon products and services. It is equally vital that that is done in co-operation with the public, local authorities and communities. We will not be successful if we do not win the hearts and minds of the Scottish people. When will the Scottish Government properly take that on board and set in motion a comprehensive programme for public engagement? It is vital that people sign up.
“We must not allow the Scottish experience to become one of delays and missed opportunities. In Copenhagen, there were posters everywhere that showed world leaders saying: ‘I’m sorry. We could have stopped the catastrophic climate change… We didn’t.’ We need to act now so that we do not have to say sorry to future generations.”
for voting and motions agreed, see http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/officialReports/meetingsParliament/or-10/sor0318-02.htm#Col24826