A new commission was formally launched today [27 September, 2021] to develop a coherent vision for transport and connectivity across Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling.
The Forth Valley Connectivity Commission will consider how a joined-up approach can better meet the region’s mobility needs, as action is taken to meet the Scottish Government’s commitment for Scotland to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
With major investments in the regional economy under way – including through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, and Falkirk Growth Deal – the Commission will consider how enhanced connectivity can bring added value, maximising productivity while driving cleaner, socially inclusive growth.
Chaired by Bob Duff, Former Group Vice President of global engineering giant Jacobs, the Commission’s membership comprises representatives from the Forth Valley’s economic base, alongside public transport providers and the region’s three local authorities.
This regional representation is complemented by the expertise of Professor Iain Docherty, Dean for the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Stirling, and Ross Martin, former economic advisor to the Scottish Government, both of whom played a formative role in the Glasgow Connectivity Commission, which successfully influenced policy at a local, regional and national level. The University is also supporting the Commission through providing its secretariat.
Forth Valley Connectivity Commission Chair
Through original proposals and a joined-up, regional approach, the Commission will set out a blueprint for how enhanced connectivity can support the Forth Valley’s transition to net zero, through driving inclusive and sustainable growth.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Forth Valley Connectivity Commission Chair, Bob Duff, said: “The Forth Valley is a major economic centre, but its future is at a crossroads. There’s no doubt that Scotland’s transition to a net zero economy will involve far-reaching, disruptive changes, and it’s clear that we need to think differently if the region is going to survive and thrive in this changing economic and social landscape.
“The challenge facing the Forth Valley Connectivity Commission is to bring fresh thinking to the region’s connectivity. Through original proposals and a joined-up, regional approach, the Commission will set out a blueprint for how enhanced connectivity can support the Forth Valley’s transition to net zero, through driving inclusive and sustainable growth.”
Dean for the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Stirling
By considering the region’s transport and connectivity needs from this distinct perspective, we can develop bold and innovative solutions that lay the foundations for a sustainable and prosperous future.
Professor Iain Docherty added: “There are three, interlocking challenges that facing the Forth Valley: the decarbonisation of its industrial base, the long-term economic recovery of its communities, and the need to plan for a future where patterns of employment, socialising and access to services may look markedly different from today.
“Our response to COVID-19 has disrupted established ways of doing business, with a shift towards remote working, greater active travel, and the rise of ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’. While these changes may be incremental, it’s clear that we will need to continue to adapt if Scotland is to succeed in becoming a net zero nation.
“By considering the region’s transport and connectivity needs from this distinct perspective, we can develop bold and innovative solutions that lay the foundations for a sustainable and prosperous future."
Clackmannanshire Council Leader, Cllr Ellen Forson, said: “Through the Forth Valley Connectivity Commission we have an opportunity to work together with our neighbouring local authorities and the University of Stirling to develop a coherent and compelling vision for transport and connectivity which will benefit communities throughout the Forth Valley over the coming decades and help us make the transition towards a net zero region. We look forward to receiving the Commission's report and considering its findings.”
Douglas Duff, Falkirk Council’s Acting Head of Development Services, said: “The new Commission will ensure that the many opportunities we have to reach the ambitious national net zero targets by 2045 are fully maximised across the Forth Valley area. Bringing together both the region’s private and public sectors will ensure better collaboration and good practice, meaning we can achieve more, sooner.
“In Falkirk, we are already making progress towards this, aiming to become a net zero Council by 2030 and embarking on ambitious schemes such as the Falkirk Investment Zone, which recognises the major opportunities to reduce carbon emissions at Grangemouth.”
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Scott Farmer said: “Improving physical connectivity across Forth Valley is an integral part of the City Region Deal, and the establishment of this commission will support our collective efforts to maximise inclusive economic growth for our communities and cut carbon emissions.
“By working together, we can meet the challenges ahead and deliver positive and sustainable benefits to the places and people of the region as we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic.”
The commission will take evidence from key stakeholders across the Forth Valley throughout the autumn, with a full report and set of recommendations to be published by the end of 2021.
- Chair: Bob Duff, Former Group Vice President, Jacobs
- Professor Iain Docherty, Dean for the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Stirling
- Ross Martin, Adviser on Regional Economies
- Joan Aitken OBE, Former Traffic Commissioner for Scotland
- Clara Walker, Executive Director, Forth Environment Link
- David Reid, Programme Director, Fuel Change
- Stefanie O’Gorman, Director of Sustainable Economics, Ramboll
- Lynn Blaikie, President & Acting Chief Executive, Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Fergus Cloughley, Chief Executive Officer, Obashi
- Christie Frail, Young People’s representative
- Pete Leonard, Strategic Director for Place, Clackmannanshire Council
- Stuart Oliver, Senior Manager for Economic Development and Communities, Stirling Council
- Pete Reid, Head of Economic Development, Falkirk Council
- Secretariat: Matt Francis, Public Affairs Manager, University of Stirling