Transport: September 2008 Archives

How roads are built.

| | Comments (0)
closeupprotest.jpgOur friends at the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route Inquiry bring reports of yesterday's events. First, as discussed here, the Reporter decided to ignore his responsibilities under European law, thus exposing the taxpayer to the risk of judicial review should Ministers decide to build the road. 

Oh, wait, they've already decided.

Then the consultant from Jacobs took the stand. He first admitted that the road's objectives were changed to include traffic relief on the A90 after the route was selected. So you choose your route, then select your objectives? Sentence first, then trial!

He also confirmed that the route layout at Kingcausie was wrong because "of a simple mixup between East and West". These people are in charge of a massive bulldozer and are about to be let loose on the Aberdeenshire countryside. Reassured? Me too.

Despite supposedly being the lead consultants on the route, it also transpired they were told about the hybrid route which Tavish foisted on Aberdeenshire just 30 minutes before the press release went out. He will have loved the front page of yesterday's P&J - this headline, slating him, above a massive pic of protesters

Finally, many of the local community support a tunnel, some seeing it as a positive project and some on the basis that it would be less worse than the AWPR. Jacobs looked at the tunnel, and we'd always been told there was a report from them which it wasn't viable. 

Astonishingly, when pressed on the nature of this report, Galbraith admitted it was "more like a few chaps around a table with a sketch who took a look and said, 'I don't think that'll work'."

I leave a review of this extraordinary statement to "Bystander", one of our pals at the Inquiry.

"So there you have it; Jacobs' definition of a report. I hope all you people in industry and commerce are taking note. Were any other 'reports' from Jacobs like that? Were the few chaps on their second or third bottle? When you are next in a town-centre pub, have a close look at the beer mats- one of them may well have the 'report' of the Murtle tunnel on it."

Absolute Worst Possible Route.

| | Comments (1)
Yesterday I had a lovely day out in Aberdeen with Greens and other activists, joining Aberdeenshire locals protesting outside the Inquiry into the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

There's little more rewarding in politics than supporting local community campaigners, although this campaign will be a hard one to win when the First Minister is prepared to bend the truth in the name of forcing a road through. Our protest pointed out that this is an Inquiry where the decision has been taken to build the road no matter what, where all discussion has been prevented about the AWPR's effectiveness on traffic reduction, its economic, social and environmental impact, and about the alternatives available.

Salmond then went on the radio urging everyone to take part, as people always find this kind of Inquiry worthwhile, neglecting to address the fact that no-one I've spoken to has ever seen an Inquiry where the answer was known in advance. It's pure window-dressing (see above).

After our protest, Road Sense's QC pointed out a flaw in the Inquiry under European law. Because of the protected nature of at least one of the environments under threat, the Inquiry has to look at all the options, including not building the road. The Reporter will rule on this today, but the road's supporters should be urging him to back this line of argument, for two reasons.

First, if your road can meet the usual tests, the same ones the M74 failed, then make the case in public. Second, if the Inquiry continues on the current path then it will be obvious how any final decision by Ministers can be judicially reviewed. Do you really want that?

Hopefully I'll be able to keep updates coming here from my friends on the inside. P&J coverage is here and here, along with an absurd editorial here. Scotsman here.

Thanks to all who turned out at such an ungodly hour, including Ben, Daniel, Lindsay, Sarah, Sarah and Tom, who also posted on this, as follows. Love the title.

Update: the Reporter's decision is out. They ignored the legal concerns. No surprise there.

My top six green ways to get about.

| | Comments (8)
1. Foot. Still wins for me. For those of you that don't do it, it's like cycling except the equipment's cheaper, you don't arrive at your destination as sweaty, and you are less often required to have the dangerous experience of mingling with cars.

2. Train. If you've brought your own food and your MP3 player is charged, is there a finer way to get from A to a reasonably distant B? The views are excellent, and no other form of transport reasonably allows you to work on the move. If I could take the train every time I left Edinburgh that'd be fine by me. Especially if it was a TGV.

3. Tram. When Edinburgh's trams arrive, they will mysteriously cease to be unpopular even with SNP candidates. Instead they will be revealed to be just as comfortable, smooth, affordable and clean as they are everywhere else in the world. Unless the Liberal/SNP local authority botches it all up.

4. Bus. Edinburgh is blessed with buses, and I love them. Apparently even Maggie didn't hate them as much as had been thought. They lose some points for fossil fuel use, though, and it'll be a while before we get electric ones.

5. Electric car. So many to choose from. Personally I'm more interested in a Tesla Roadster than a G-Wiz, but the EV-02 sounds promising too. They all lose a lot of points because of the energy it takes to build them, and obviously we need to scale our renewables ambitions up even further if this is going to be practical. But if something's going to kill the internal combustion engine, it's probably the battery.

6. Bike. I would really have to be pressed to use a bike. See the section on walking. Also, you can't ride a bike and safely listen to music, so that's a big black mark for me. I know I should be more keen: perhaps a recumbent or a multi-person bike (left) might persuade me otherwise? Or the Solo-Duo, which fuses the electric car and the bike, and which looks like something from Woody Allen's Sleeper? No, that'd be cheating.

This is just my list, for me. I know the embodied energy calculation makes bikes greener than electric cars: in fact, I'm sure they're #2 in any objective list that goes just on green-ness.

Your Links At Last


Other Politics



Friends and Stuff I Like

If I've forgotten to link to you, let me know. If I don't want to link to your blog I'll pretend I never got your email.

The party's site of which I am rather proud

Along with Jeff (formerly SNP Tactical Voting) and Malc (formerly In The Burgh), I now co-edit Better Nation, a group blog. Stuff will still appear here, but more will be there. Better Nation

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Transport category from September 2008.

Transport: August 2008 is the previous archive.

Transport: October 2008 is the next archive.