Proposal to increase fuel prices 'disappears' from transport strategy

Glasgow City Council previously planned to lobby governments to increase the price of fuel or vehicle duty.

Glasgow City Council plans to lobby governments over fuel prices ‘scrapped’ iStock

An unpopular Glasgow council proposal to try and get petrol and diesel prices increased has “disappeared” from its transport strategy. 

Councillor Anna Richardson says there needs to be a “stick” and “carrot” approach to persuade the Glaswegians to reduce reliance on cars. 

But another councillor accused the council of  “bashing” drivers. 

The bid to lobby governments to increase the cost of fuel or vehicle duty was originally contained in the council’s transport strategy policy framework.

But when the document went before councillors at a meeting on Thursday, that idea seemed to be scrapped.

Conservative councillor Kyle Thornton who has labelled fuel price lobbying as “disgraceful” said: “I note the call to put up fuel duty has disappeared from (the strategy) to be replaced by some relatively vague wording. 

“I’m glad Conservative pressure has brought that about.”

Fellow party councillor Thomas Kerr said: “The SNP and Greens have backed down from outwardly calling for fuel duty and other price increases and instead are now hiding this behind banal wording talking about making a vehicle more expensive than public transport.”

The huge transport document contains 144 policies including one on new parking charges being introduced at workplaces in the city. The levy would involve a workplace licensing scheme, with the employer paying for a licence. 

The policy document also looks at bus governance options for the city to improve transport. Emission-based resident parking is also being examined. 

Councillor Thornton who lodged an amendment called for certain policies to be deleted and others changed. 

Speaking at the city administration committee, he said his group could not support the “car park tax” and “emission-based charging” but welcomed some parts of the strategy including the bid to improve public transport. 

He said: “However quite a significant amount of it continues to rely on simply bashing car users and simply trying to get people out of cars by the means of making it so difficult that they don’t bother rather than providing decent public transport options, which should be the focus.”

He said: “There is a reason people are using cars in the city.”

SNP Councillor Richardson said: “The Conservative position on this is very clear in that we should use “carrot” and improve sustainable transport when we can. They are uncomfortable with the stick.”

The city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction added: “The evidence around transport is we need to do both. There is a clear balance within this document around the incentivisation of public and all sustainable transport and disincentivization of use of private cars. We cannot do one without the other.”

Councillor Richardson continued: “Finally we are writing the policies we need to write around disincentivizing private car use.”

She said the policies coming forward from the council offer the answers to get the council to net zero by 2030. There is also a goal to reduce car kilometres travelled in the city by 30% by that year. 

Councillor Richardson said: “This is not going to be easy but what we are setting out today is a clear ten year direction of how we intend to get there and that is extremely important.”

Councillor Eva Murray called for the transport strategy not to be approved at the meeting.

The Labour politician put forward an amendment, which said the “current draft of the transport strategy fails to commit to using the levers at our disposal to reshape Glasgow’s transport network, including utilising franchising powers.”

Councillor Murray wants proposals brought forward to “adequately address the issue of governance” of the transport network. 

The amendments from the Conservatives and Labour were rejected. 

The Glasgow transport strategy: policy framework was approved after being voted through by SNP and Green councillors.

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