31 May Vol 1, No 7 Session 3

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Rural Development Programme: The Parliament debated the subject of the Rural Development Programme.

2. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

4. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (Jim Mather) made a statement and answered questions on the UK Energy White Paper and Scotland.

5. Abolition of Bridge Tolls: The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) moved S3M-93—That the Parliament recognises the concerns of residents and businesses who have been unfairly treated by the retention of tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges when similar tolls were removed elsewhere; and that in the interests of fairness supports the removal of the tolls from the Forth and Tay road bridges as soon as is practicable and notes the government's intention to engage in dialogue to pursue this objective with the Forth Estuary Transport Authority and the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board.

Des McNulty moved amendment S3M-93.2 to motion S3M-93—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“, in accepting that the people of Fife and Tayside should not be disadvantaged by the retention of tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges, requires that consultation aimed at bringing forward proposals leading to the removal of the tolls as soon as practicable also ensures that traffic management and safety issues on the Forth road bridge are dealt with and that any employees affected are treated with dignity and respect; further requires that the government’s proposals set out clearly what the financial consequences of the removal of tolls on the transport budget are and outline funding options for the vital replacement Forth crossing, and requires that, as any additional vehicle traffic increases congestion problems in Edinburgh and the wider region, existing commitments to trams and Edinburgh Airport Rail which have already been scrutinised and received parliamentary approval should not be arbitrarily delayed or cancelled and that all future major transport project proposals be properly costed, evaluated and prioritised.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 120, Against 0, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament, in accepting that the people of Fife and Tayside should not be disadvantaged by the retention of tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges, requires that consultation aimed at bringing forward proposals leading to the removal of the tolls as soon as practicable also ensures that traffic management and safety issues on the Forth road bridge are dealt with and that any employees affected are treated with dignity and respect; further requires that the government’s proposals set out clearly what the financial consequences of the removal of tolls on the transport budget are and outline funding options for the vital replacement Forth crossing, and requires that, as any additional vehicle traffic increases congestion problems in Edinburgh and the wider region, existing commitments to trams and Edinburgh Airport Rail which have already been scrutinised and received parliamentary approval should not be arbitrarily delayed or cancelled and that all future major transport project proposals be properly costed, evaluated and prioritised.

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on item 5 as noted above.

The meeting closed at 5.05 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
31 May 2007