Perth and Kinross Council wants public to have their say on local transport and active travel

Members of the Perth and Kinross public will soon be given the chance to have their say on how to improve travel options in the area.

Perth and Kinross Council (PKC) will launch an eight-week public consultation on its draft version of its Mobility Strategy later this month.

The strategy has been identified as playing a key part in delivering two of the local authority's corporate plan objectives: "tackling climate change and supporting sustainable places; and developing a resilient, stronger and greener local economy".

It has 11 transport objectives at its core with 44 strategic actions needed to achieve them.

The 11 objectives are to:

  • improve the affordability of Perth and Kinross transport

  • improve accessibility for rural communities and communities with protected characteristics to jobs, education and services

  • reduce carbon emissions

  • improve climate resilience to cut the number of bridge and road closures each year caused by adverse weather

  • improve the reliability and efficiency of the local transport network to support economic growth

  • support local development that encourages and enables local living and sustainable access with increased active travel and public transport options to and from new developments

  • improve the capacity and reliability of alternative sustainable freight and logistic modes across Perth and Kinross

  • improve access to transport, active travel and digital opportunities for the labour market

  • improve road safety and perceived safety for all transport users

  • improve physical and mental health

  • improve air quality

Feedback from the consultation will be used to inform the final version of the council's Mobility Strategy.

PKC's Climate Change and Sustainability Committee approved the Consultation Draft Mobility Strategy and associated Draft Action Plan when it met on Wednesday, May 1.

Moving the report, SNP councillor Richard Watters said it was a "pivotal step in shaping the future of transportation and mobility in our area".

The Kinross-shire councillor added that it "offers a comprehensive proposal to guide the management and development of our transport network over the next 15 years".

It was seconded by vice-convener Lib Dem councillor Liz Barrett who urged all councillors to "promote and encourage participation in the consultation".

Climate Commission member Martin Mathers thought it was a "good initiative but its outcomes are unpredictable due to other forces". He said strategic planning was "absolutely key".

Martin added: "Where I live, every new house that's built is effectively an extra car journey into Perth - approximately at least once a week - because people have to come to Perth to do their shopping because their local shops are poor, irregular and expensive."

He added that the building of Destiny Bridge and "any dualling of the A9 increases traffic".

Conservative councillor David Illingworth was "sceptical".

He said: "I'm sceptical it will have a significant impact in 10/20 years' time. Where I live - in Abernethy - there is still one bus service. Almost everybody has a car. We are a suburb of Perth. Almost all of our journeys are in and out of Perth."

Cllr Watters responded: "I think that's up to us to try and ensure we try and give positive choices to people in the way they travel in the future."

Council leader Grant Laing added: "If we don't have a strategy or a way to move forward, we will definitely end up just being where we are. The idea of a strategy is to try and change things."

Independent councillor Dave Cuthbert commended the "direction of travel" with the objectives but stressed the importance of ensuring the council had the resources in place to "deliver as much of them as we can".

Conservative councillor Angus Forbes - who shared some of Cllr Illingworth's scepticism - referenced the long talked about integration of Perth Bus Station and Perth Rail Station "which hasn't moved on" but agreed with Cllr Laing that "a strategy was the right thing to do".

Cllr Forbes echoed the need for funding and added: "I think the will is here; we don't - at this stage - have the money."