- Fewer journeys in Moray should be by car – particularly short local journeys where walking is an easy option.
- Transport policy should be linked to other key priorities, like net zero, economic development, housing, and infrastructure.
- Reducing overall traffic levels passing through Moray’s towns and villages.
- Provision of reliable, green public transport.
- Establishment of a local, Council-run, zero-emission bus service.
- Future-proof Moray’s public and private vehicle transport through the development of electric vehicle and green hydrogen infrastructure.
Traffic remains a growing problem in Elgin. Moray Labour has always believed that the solution to Elgin’s traffic problems lies in relieving the town of through traffic, by way of a genuine road bypass for Elgin. Moray Labour believes that a bypass of Elgin will substantially reduce traffic congestion, and, in particular, reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles, which pose such a danger to pedestrians, damage local roads, and pollute local air. Moray Labour Councillors will continue to press SNP Ministers in Edinburgh to deliver a genuine road bypass for Elgin.
Labour Councillors will continue to press for improvements to the A95, which remains unsafe in many places. We will seek to improve rural transport to reduce social isolation.
Of course, road building would not be so necessary were the Scottish Government invest in public transport in the North of Scotland. For the past fifteen years the SNP has steadfastly refused to intervene in the operation of buses, despite the fact that fares have increased far beyond inflation, routes have been terminated, and services have been reduced. Meanwhile, Scotrail services between Inverness and Aberdeen are few and far between. Passengers find themselves waiting for hours at stations in the middle of the day in Elgin, Forres, and Keith without a train ever passing. And when they do, they are far too often formed of too-few coaches and therefore overcrowded. Moray Labour Councillors will campaign for genuine investment in public transport, including regulation of buses and increased rail services between Inverness and Aberdeen.
We believe that Moray residents are put-off taking journeys by bus because of infrequent services, high costs, and poor information. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of journeys taken by bus declined by 18% across the region in the preceding five years. Thanks to an amendment by Labour MSPs, the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 permits local authorities to operate public bus services. We believe that a locally run, not-for-profit bus service would be more attractive to local residents than the existing Stagecoach monopoly. Labour Councillors will push for the establishment of a zero-emission (electric or hydrogen) local Moray bus service run by the Moray Council. Furthermore, in order to encourage a modal shift in transport usage, we believe that every Moray resident should be entitled to a number of free journeys every year in order to showcase the benefits of travel by bus.
Moray Labour is committed to sustainable transport. Far too many journeys within Moray’s towns are taken by car, when sustainable alternatives exist. While great strides have been made in building links between towns, we need to do more to encourage cycling within towns. For example, safe cycling routes from north to south in Elgin are almost non-existent. Major junctions across Moray give little consideration to the safety of pedestrians or cyclists. Labour Councillors will review EVERY junction in Moray to ensure that active travel enjoys parity with motorists.
The UK government has legislated to ban the sale of new carbon-emitting vehicles from 2030. Moray Labour will ensure that the Moray Transport Strategy is updated to reflect this new reality, and that Moray is ready for the change. This will include using planning conditions to ensure that new developments are fitted with electric vehicle charging points.
Potholes are an ever-growing problem, and a Freedom of Information request by Labour has revealed a £40 million back-log in repairing them. We believe this is the inevitable result of combined SNP and Tory central government cuts to local authorities. Moray Labour Councillors will press the SNP government in Holyrood for sufficient resources to tackle the pothole back-log.