9 October 2014

(S4O-03594) Hybrid Ferries (Low-carbon Targets)

4. Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government how investment in hybrid ferries will contribute to meeting its low-carbon targets. (S4O-03594)

The Minister for Transport and Veterans (Keith Brown): The Scottish Government has invested more than £20 million to construct two hybrid ferries, the MV Hallaig and the MV Lochinvar. Mr Stevenson was involved in the project from its early days and cut the first steel for the MV Hallaig in January 2012.

On 29 September, the Deputy First Minister announced that a third hybrid ferry would be ordered from Ferguson Marine Engineering. Those low-emission hybrid ferries, built in Scotland, are helping to contribute to the Scottish Government’s targets on cutting climate change emissions, with initial operational experience indicating around a 28 per cent fuel saving and an associated reduction in carbon emissions.

Stewart Stevenson: The announcement of the third hybrid ferry is welcome. I was pleased to be associated with the previous initiatives.

What investment is being made in other forms of public transport in Scotland to ensure that targets on carbon emissions are met?

Keith Brown: The Scottish Government invests more than £1 billion a year in public and sustainable transport to encourage people on to public transport and active travel modes. As I announced yesterday in relation to the new ScotRail franchise, Abellio has committed to a range of carbon-saving initiatives that includes at least 3,500 additional cycle parking spaces, a sustainability innovation fund of £100,000 a year and the installation of electric car charging points in at least 50 station car parks. In addition, Stewart Stevenson will of course be aware that, since 2010, we have invested more than £10 million to support the purchase of 126 green buses.

8 October 2014

Statement: Future of Scotland’s Railways

The Presiding Officer (Tricia Marwick): The next item of business is a statement by Keith Brown on the future of Scotland’s railways. The minister will take questions at the end of his statement.

... ... ...

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): I welcome the substantial staff improvements and new jobs that will come with the new franchise: the living wage, trade unions on the board, 100 new apprentices and the protection of pensions and travel rights. Is it not the case that we must move ahead urgently to deliver those things for staff now, rather than have staff wait for years—perhaps forever—for new railway powers to come to the Scottish Parliament? It is simply not the time to put Scotland on hold, especially for an indeterminate period.

The Minister for Transport and Veterans (Keith Brown): Stewart Stevenson is exactly right. It strikes me that people like Mark Griffin have to try to get over the fact that they were on the winning side in the referendum. Power over these things rests at Westminster. There is no guarantee of powers—I do not know whether Mark Griffin signed the petition to make sure that we get extra powers. If we were to delay or cancel the contract, that would impact on the new trains that we are ordering, on fares, on the benefits of the new services—reduced fares would not apply—and on the enhanced benefits for staff, including there being no compulsory redundancies in the whole term of the contract and the living wage being paid to every member of staff, whether they are subcontracted or directly employed. Those are real advances for the people who serve the customers. There are also real advances for the customers themselves.

People in Scotland will be interested in the Labour Party’s opposition to this material advance for fare-paying passengers and the staff who provide the services.

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