Local authorities in Scotland could be given the power to create and enforce Low Emission Zones under proposals by the Scottish government.
The Transport (Scotland) Bill aims to empower local authorities and establish consistent standards to improve air quality and a deliver a more responsive and sustainable transport system.
It also proposes major changes to the way local bus services are organised after the country’s most-used form of public transport experienced falling passenger numbers.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Transport Bill reflects a period of significant public consultation and engagement.
“It responds to the views of passengers and stakeholders by providing local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) with the tools to address local needs.
“This government will not stand by as bus passenger numbers decline.
“Partnership is at the centre of our proposals, with a new model for local authorities to work with bus operators to revitalise services.
“We are also providing clearer options for authorities to pursue local franchising or provide services themselves in appropriate circumstances.
“Beyond bus services, this Bill will allow for decriminalised enforcement of Low Emission Zones, double parking and parking on pavements.
“This will help transform our towns and cities into cleaner, more accessible and more pleasant spaces to travel and enjoy.
“By strengthening the technology and governance which underpins smart ticketing, people will be able to move between our cities with greater ease and convenience.
“The Bill will also further increase the safety and efficiency of road works to help keep our traffic flowing.
“We are supporting regeneration along our canals and ensuring the future of the network by strengthening governance and we are also bolstering the ability of RTPs to manage larger projects.
“By empowering local authorities and continuing to work in partnership with transport operators, we will continue to develop a cleaner, smarter public transport system with improved connectivity, accessibility and greater economic benefits for all of Scotland.”
Proposed measures in the Bill include:
* Providing local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) with the flexibility to improve bus services through partnership working with operators or, where there is a good case for doing so, local franchising or running services themselves.
* Enabling the creation and decriminalised enforcement of Low Emission Zones.
* Prohibiting double parking and parking on pavements and giving local authorities the powers needed to enforce this important change.
* Standardising smart ticketing technology to ensure compatibility, and setting in place an advisory body to best support interoperable Scotland-wide smart ticketing.
* Strengthening the powers of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner in order to better regulate road works.
* Allowing RTPs to build up and carry appropriate financial reserves.
* Giving Scottish Ministers powers to enhance the board structure of Scottish Canals to strengthen its capacity to support economic regeneration.