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3/12/2018 - Regional Transport Partnership Chairs meet at Fort William

Fort William hosted the latest meeting of the Chairs of the seven Regional Transport Partnerships in Scotland when the benefits of promoting healthier lifestyles through Active Travel, such as walking and cycling, were highlighted as a priority area for joint action.  The RTP Chairs have written to Scottish Transport and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf, MSP, suggesting the creation of a Scottish Regional Active Travel Fund  to complement existing funding programmes as part of the Scottish Government’s doubling of funding for active travel to £80 Million.
Representing HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, was its chairman, Councillor Allan Henderson, who is Highland Councillor for Caol land Mallaig, Council Vice-Convener and Chairman of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee.
Councillor Henderson is a strong supporter of Active Travel and is keen that adequate funding is identified so that local RTPS can make progress with many of the exciting initiatives planned for their areas.  In Fort William, he is supporting a major study, which is underway to identify improved transport links in and around the West Highland hub, including better opportunities for walking and cycling and provision of the infrastructure needed to support this.
In advocating the creation of a Regional Active Travel Fund, the RTP Chairs have signed a joint letter to Mr Yousaf pledging their full support for the Scottish Government’s plans to improve the health and fitness of Scottish people through making it easier and safer for them to walk and cycle to their destinations.
Councillor Henderson said: “We are offering to meet with Scottish Government officials to work on the detail of how RTPs can work with funding partners to play a key role in delivering excellent active travel plans by developing and enhancing existing capacity and capability.   We would welcome the opportunity to contribute to any debate on what has been achieved in the past through these partnerships and how these can be built on in the future. 
“We see this as an important discussion irrespective of any consideration being  given to our proposal for a Regional Active Travel Fund, which we see as being complementary to our other partnership work.  In this regard it is perhaps worth adding that our work on Active Travel is continuing to evolve and the effective partnership work we have fostered with Transport Scotland and Sustrans is now extending to cycle training and promotion with 2 RTPs currently partnering with Cycling Scotland to support the employment of regional Cycle Training & Development Officers. We would also propose that our focus on undertaking behaviour change work to increase active travel rates is an important feature of the work we can and should be doing and RTPs are particularly well placed to lead on the integration of Active Travel with other modes of transport including bus and ferry.”
The RTP Chairs Forum meets quarterly at different venues in Scotland to enable cross-RTP discussion and liaison on matters of joint interest and to provide opportunities to improve transport planning and delivery through sharing of best practice and information. 
The seven Regional Transport Partnerships are – HITRANS, Nestrans (North East Scotland Transport Partnership), SESTRAN (South East Scotland  Transport Partnership), Swestrans (South West Scotland Transport Partnership, ZetTrans (Shetland Transport Partnership), SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport)and TACTRAN (Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership).  

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