183. This section relates the vision to 2030 to each broad region of Scotland to provide spatial perspectives for the Central Belt, East Coast, Highlands and Islands, Ayrshire and the South-West and the South of Scotland. The perspectives address spatial issues of national importance which cut across city-region and local authority boundaries, to provide a context for development planning and the ongoing activities of the Scottish Government, key agencies and local authorities.
184. The Central Belt and the East Coast are the dominant economic corridors for the Lowlands. The Highlands and Islands have unique environmental and cultural resources offering very substantial opportunities for sustainable growth. Ayrshire and the South West play an important role as Scotland's western gateway. In the South of Scotland a distinctive identity, high environmental quality and proximity to markets in England and Ireland are assets with great economic potential.
185. The Clyde Corridor, Central Ayrshire, West Edinburgh, the Upper Forth, the Inverness - Nairn Corridor and the Pentland Firth are areas where major change is taking place and the scale and complexity of the issues to be addressed means that co-ordinated action is needed in the national interest.
186. Edinburgh and Glasgow are Scotland's principal centres of business and culture and key international gateways. Edinburgh is the nation's capital and both cities have important metropolitan roles. Their centres are foci for public administration, national institutions and a wide range of services as well as being major tourism and leisure destinations. The relationship between Edinburgh and Glasgow is recognised as being of vital importance and, together with Scottish Enterprise, the two cities are working to make Central Scotland a globally important centre of economic activity. To achieve this, they need to be linked by a fast, efficient, high quality transport system which is well connected to their surrounding regions and world markets. The electrification of the rail line between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the opening of the Airdrie - Bathgate line, new airport rail links, the M74 Extension and the M8 and M80 motorway enhancements are important contributions to strengthening Central Belt connectivity.
187. The Edinburgh Waterfront Partnership is taking forward one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe. Development sites on the waterfront constitute a major part of Edinburgh's effective housing land supply. The population of the area is projected to increase by approximately 70,000 over the next 15 years. Some 680 ha. of land around Leith and Granton will be redeveloped to provide some 30,000 new homes, including much-needed affordable housing; new commercial and business locations; a new further education campus; and major new areas of public open space. The project offers opportunities to create new high quality sustainable communities and cultural facilities which enhance the attraction of Edinburgh as a tourism destination, and to help to regenerate adjacent communities. There is also potential for marina development, improved provision for cruise vessels and terminal facilities for ferry and hovercraft services. The City Council plans to have the new tram line between the Waterfront and Edinburgh Airport operational by 2011.
188. Realising the potential of West Edinburgh as an internationally competitive business location is a key priority. The West Edinburgh Planning Framework addresses issues of airport growth, congestion and connectivity, promoting integration of land use and transport to secure benefits for the local, regional and national economies. Scottish Enterprise is promoting the development of an International Business Gateway immediately to the south of Edinburgh Airport, providing a prime office location for businesses serving international markets. The relocation of the Royal Highland Show Ground will facilitate airport enhancement.
East Central Scotland
189. There is a need to accommodate a substantial growth in the number of households in the Edinburgh city region and the Upper Forth area over the next 25 years. Exceptionally high house and residential land prices in Edinburgh have in part reflected an imbalance between demand and supply. A priority objective for the planning system is to ensure that the supply of development land is adequate, that major sites identified for housing are made available in good time, and that more affordable housing is provided. Investment in transport and environmental infrastructure will be needed. The development of transport interchange facilities at Haymarket would help to accommodate the forecast 50% growth in rail demand between 2005 and 2022. New sewerage is needed to support planned development to the east of the city.
190. Efforts are being directed towards consolidating the reputation of the Edinburgh city region as a science and technology hub supporting world-class research and innovation. The BioQuarter at Little France is establishing the region as one of the world's top ten centres for commercial biomedical research. Priority is being given to developing the complementarity of the locations which make up the Lothian Science Zone and improving the connectivity of the gateway facilities at Edinburgh Airport, Grangemouth and Rosyth. In West Lothian there are significant opportunities for business and employment growth in the vicinity of the Forth bridgehead, in Livingston and the Almond Valley and in the Whitburn/
191. The scale of the opportunities in the Clyde Corridor makes it a national regeneration priority and, within it, the Clyde Gateway and the Clyde Waterfront are the main foci for regeneration in the medium term. This activity is supported by Scottish Government funding that will allow people in surrounding communities to take advantage of the opportunities which the transformation of the Gateway and Waterfront will bring.
192. The STPR has confirmed the need to increase terminal capacity and improve rail connectivity through Glasgow. The West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements project will consider the potential for future integration with a high-speed rail network.
193. The potential to provide good public transport connections make Gartcosh and Bishopton key locations for long-term expansion to the east and west of Glasgow. Gartcosh, Ravenscraig and Eurocentral are key locations for regeneration and renewal in North Lanarkshire. Settlement restructuring associated with the establishment of a new town centre at Ravenscraig will create new residential neighbourhoods, provide new economic opportunities, improve the quality of the environment and services and promote more sustainable access patterns in that part of Lanarkshire. In South Lanarkshire, the Council is developing proposals for Community Growth Areas at Hamilton West, East Kilbride, Newton, Larkhall, Ferniegair and Carluke South. In 2007, Scottish Ministers announced that a new publicly operated prison should proceed at Bishopbriggs. Drumchapel, Oatlands, Garthamlock, Ruchill/Keppoch and locations adjacent to the Forth and Clyde Canal are priorities for regeneration in Glasgow. The renewal of Paisley Town Centre is a key priority for Renfrewshire Council. In West Dunbartonshire, the Strathleven corridor linking the Clyde with Loch Lomond offers substantial opportunities for regeneration, economic development and environmental improvement.
194. On the Clyde Waterfront, the area from Glasgow Green to the Erskine Bridge is in the process of being transformed. £5.6 billion of public and private sector investment is creating new residential areas and a variety of business and leisure facilities on the riverside. A flood management strategy has been prepared and requirements for new flood defences identified. The Broomielaw and Tradeston are attracting high quality mixed use commercial, leisure and residential development. In Finnieston, permission has been granted for a sustainable urban village and indoor arena in association with the renewal of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. The world-class media facilities on Pacific Quay, incorporating the headquarters for BBC Scotland and Scottish Television, create the potential for Scotland to become a globally significant player in television and film production for the English-speaking world and the Celtic diaspora.
195. Access to the Waterfront needs to be improved if its full potential is to be realised. The Clyde Arc bridge has improved connectivity in the Pacific Quay and SECC redevelopment areas and is future-proofed to allow it to accommodate a light rapid transit system. SPT and the City Council are developing Clyde Fastlink to support regeneration on the Waterfront. The new foot and cycle bridge between the Broomielaw and Tradeston will help to promote regeneration on the south bank of the river. Opportunities for developing open space networks and promoting water-based recreation and business activity have been identified.
196. A new community is emerging at Ferry Village, with good access to Renfrew and the Braehead Shopping Centre. Further down river, the Riverside Inverclyde Urban Regeneration Company is creating new employment opportunities and improving the quality of housing and the environment in Greenock and Port Glasgow. In Greenock, permission has been granted for a major marina and residential development at Victoria Harbour and East India Docks. Container traffic through Greenock has been growing and the town is now a regular port of call for cruise ships. On the north side of the river, 170 acres of waterfront and town centre land are being redeveloped at Clydebank. Improvements are needed in rail infrastructure and the quality of stations. New ferry services could improve links between the City Centre and waterfront communities at Clydebank and on the Renfrew and Inverclyde Riversides.
197. The Clyde's rich maritime heritage and the outstanding environmental assets of the Firth of Clyde and the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park provide the basis for a growing tourism and leisure economy in areas to the west of Glasgow, such as Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire. Regeneration initiatives already underway are having a positive effect on the image of these areas. Good links through Glasgow to the rest of Scotland will be crucial in realising their full potential.
198. The Clyde Gateway in the south-east of the Glasgow Conurbation is Scotland's top regeneration priority. The east side of the city together with adjoining parts of South Lanarkshire contain some of our poorest communities and large concentrations of vacant and derelict land close to areas which have experienced strong economic growth. Committed investment in transport infrastructure will transform the accessibility of the area creating major new opportunities for economic development and environmental improvement. Over the next 20 years some £1.6 billion will be invested to bring 350 ha. of derelict and contaminated land back into use. Dalmarnock will accommodate a 5,000-seat National Indoor Sports Arena, a 1,500-seat velodrome, and other facilities for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Implementation of the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Plan is crucial to the successful delivery of these projects and will be complemented by strategic green network improvements.
Making the Connections
199. The strategic corridor between Edinburgh and Glasgow makes a key contribution to the national economy. The towns of Central Scotland need good public transport links to provide access to jobs in Glasgow and Edinburgh and to make them attractive locations for business investment and residential development. There is a need for improved interchange and park-and-ride facilities and potential for the development of commuter ferry services on the Forth and Clyde. Reopening the rail line between Airdrie and Bathgate will make both of these towns attractive locations for new development and this offers opportunities for creating higher quality urban environments. There is also a need to consider the potential offered by Motherwell's location on the West Coast main rail line.
200. Strengthening rail and road links across the Central Belt will support the development of the gateway ports of Grangemouth, Rosyth and Greenock and help to create a more attractive freight route between Ireland and the Continent. The potential for ports on the Forth and Clyde to expand in response to market opportunities must be safeguarded. Falkirk Council is working with Forth Ports and Ineos to identify measures to protect the port, petrochemical complex and residential areas at Grangemouth from coastal flooding, taking account of the likely impacts of climate change. The STPR has confirmed that an upgraded A801 will help to improve connectivity between Grangemouth and the M8 corridor.
201. The estuarine habitats of the Firths of Clyde and Forth, lowland peat bogs and the Clyde Valley woodlands are features of international conservation value. The Millennium Canal Link offers opportunities for regeneration and leisure-related development across the Central Belt. There is a need to ensure that the strong focus of development activity on the Firth of Forth delivers net environmental benefits. A large-scale coastal habitat development project near Grangemouth could complement the HELIX project and be a focus for wildlife-based tourism.
202. The Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership is taking forward a programme of greenspace enhancement designed to promote healthier lifestyles, better environments, greater biodiversity, stronger communities and economic opportunity. Priority is being given to key urban regeneration areas such as the Clyde Waterfront, the Clyde Gateway, Gartcosh/Gartloch, Ravenscraig, Inverclyde, Ferguslie Park and Govan. There is potential for substantial habitat restoration and enhancement associated with the Clyde Gateway and Commonwealth Games projects. The Central Scotland Forest and renewal focused on the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals are helping to transform the environment in the area between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Effective co-ordination of these and neighbouring initiatives to create a Central Scotland Green Network offers the opportunity to effect a step change in environmental quality, woodland cover and recreational opportunities. It will make Central Scotland a more attractive place to live in, do business and visit; help to absorb CO2; enhance biodiversity; and promote active travel and healthier lifestyles.
203. The East Coast corridor between Aberdeen and Newcastle offers opportunities to develop knowledge economy links based on the expertise associated with the energy and offshore industries and the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, St. Andrews, Edinburgh and Newcastle. The road crossing at Queensferry is a vital strategic link and the Scottish Government is taking forward its replacement as a matter of priority. There are opportunities to develop North Sea and Baltic trade and coastal shipping connections. The Fife Energy Park at Methil provides important strategic capacity in the fields of offshore and renewable energy technology. Measures to strengthen the East Coast Corridor will be taken forward in the strategic development plans for the Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh city regions. The STPR has identified the need for a Dundee Northern Relief Road to reduce conflict between strategic and local traffic and improve the reliability of journey times between Aberdeen and the Central Belt.
204. The primary aim for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is to grow and diversify the economy, making sure the region has enough people, homes, jobs and facilities to maintain and improve its quality of life. Under the banner of the Energetica project, the economic development community is seeking to build on the energy sector and offshore strengths of the region, diversifying into new renewable and clean energy technologies to consolidate its position as a global energy hub. It is also pursuing opportunities to develop tourism, the rural economy and the food and drink sector. Distance from London and other major UK cities means that good domestic as well as international air links are vital to the region's economy. Construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route will improve regional connectivity and open new development opportunities. Strategic growth is being focused on the city and the Aberdeen to Peterhead and Huntly to Laurencekirk corridors. Regeneration priorities include parts of Aberdeen, Fraserburgh, Peterhead and some of the smaller coastal communities. Synergies with the Highlands and Islands offer opportunities for collaboration to develop the wider North of Scotland economy.
205. Aberdeen is working to strengthen its role as Scotland's northern gateway, building on its considerable science and research expertise and broadening its economic base. The City Council is focusing on improving the quality of the environment in the city centre and developing cultural and recreational facilities to create a more vibrant social scene. There is scope for attracting more tourists to the city and expanding the service sector, including financial services. Aberdeen Harbour provides essential support services for the offshore oil and gas industry and the tonnage of vessels and cargo handled continues to grow. It is the principal mainland port for freight, passenger, vehicle and livestock services to Orkney and Shetland. The city's role as a regional media centre provides a base from which to build a larger creative sector.
206. Dundee has made great strides in improving the quality of the city centre, enhancing cultural facilities and establishing new centres of expertise in key areas of the knowledge economy. Many young people come to the city for further education. A key challenge is to create the opportunities which allow a higher proportion of them to stay. The strategy for the Dundee city region is to promote regeneration, neighbourhood renewal and further improvements to the quality of urban living within the city boundary. A masterplan has been prepared for the regeneration of the Central Waterfront and the City Council and Scottish Enterprise are promoting high amenity business and residential development in the Western Gateway. There is a need to improve public transport services to growth centres such as the Digital Media Campus, Tech Park, Medipark and the Scottish Crop Research Unit. Local improvements to road and rail connections may help to unlock the potential for further development at the Port of Dundee, including its potential to serve the renewable energy sector. Reducing the rail journey time to Edinburgh to under an hour would help to attract more high value jobs to the city. There is likely to be scope for providing more services from Dundee Airport.
207. The accessibility of Perth and Stirling and the quality of environment they offer make them attractive locations for development. Perthshire and Stirlingshire have important links with the Glasgow and Edinburgh city regions and provide the interface between Lowland and Highland Scotland. Angus and eastern Perthshire have strong links to Dundee and there is scope for developing complementary roles for Dundee and Perth as the main centres on the Tay. The STPR has recognised the strategic importance of transport links between them. Dundee - Perth - Stirling should be seen as a key communications axis in the East Coast corridor.
208. For Fife, good connections with Edinburgh and Dundee are important. South Fife is a key location for business activity and the Fife Structure Plan identifies a number of strategic land allocations to accommodate housing needs. The Forth Replacement Crossing project includes the provision of a dedicated multi-modal corridor giving priority to public transport. A new light rapid transport link across the Forth could provide a significant increase in public transport capacity between Edinburgh and Fife and a more sustainable means of accessing Edinburgh Airport from Fife. There is potential for building on the international profile of St. Andrews as a leisure destination and centre of excellence in academic endeavour and scientific research. Improving the quality of the environment in the former mining areas of Mid-Fife can help to ensure that they are able to play their full part in the future economic development of the corridor. The Westfield Energy Park is pioneering new energy technologies and the area also has the potential to accommodate a large recycling and waste management facility serving Fife and surrounding areas.
209. The small and medium-sized towns of the East Coast are important local service centres. Peterhead is the North Sea's largest white fish port and a key logistical support centre for the North Sea oil and gas industry. It is also handling an increasing number of cruise vessels. As the deepest harbour in the North-East, it offers opportunities for the development of new ferry services and container traffic, for sub-sea engineering and the decommissioning of offshore equipment, and for more sustainable waste management. Conversion to clean-burning could extend the life of Peterhead power station and offer future opportunities for carbon capture and the development of a local heat network. A new prison will be built in the Peterhead area to replace the existing prisons at Peterhead and Aberdeen. The port of Montrose provides import and export services for agricultural and oil-related businesses and is a base for oil rig support vessels. Burntisland is a potential northern terminus for cross-Forth ferry or hovercraft services.
210. The East Coast corridor boasts much of Scotland's best agricultural land and fine farming landscapes, significant areas of woodland and attractive historic burghs and fishing villages. It has a diverse rural economy and makes an important contribution to Scottish food production. Other environmental assets include important coastal and estuarine habitats such as dune systems, tidal mudflats and sea cliffs. The conservation and sensitive management of these features is critical to the identity, biodiversity and quality of life of the area. They also offer many opportunities for leisure, recreation and tourism. Local authorities are working to create a long-distance coastal footpath linked to heritage features and businesses as Scotland's contribution to Europe's North Sea Trail.
HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS
211. HIE considers that half a million is a realistic population target for the Highlands and Islands, an increase of around 15% on the population in 2005. The provision of development infrastructure will be an important issue where substantial increases in population and households are projected. There is a need to develop models of sustainable development which are applicable to the geography and settlement pattern of the area, including the needs of island and crofting communities.
212. Inverness can develop its role as the Highland capital, broaden its economic base, improve its connections to Scotland's other cities and the rest of the world, and attract a wider range of high quality jobs. The city is home to Scottish Natural Heritage and its Centre for Health Science is contributing to Scotland's strength in biomedical research. The Inverness City Vision is playing an important role in guiding future development.
213. The STPR has identified improvements to the Highland Main Line which would reduce passenger journey times between Inverness and Perth by around 20% and make the line a more attractive option for moving freight. Within the context of the Government's commitment to planning for dualling of the A9, the STPR has identified a number of targeted improvements as initial priorities, including full dualling of the section between Perth and Blair Atholl and new grade-separated junctions to reduce accidents and improve journey time reliability. Measures to reduce accident rates north of Inverness have also been identified as a priority by the STPR.
214. The A96 corridor between Inverness and Nairn is the main focus of growth in the Inner Moray Firth. Highland Council's A96 Corridor Development Framework includes proposals designed to accommodate an additional 30,000 people in the area over 35 years. These include significant expansion to the East of Inverness and at Nairn, the creation of a new settlement at Tornagrain, and a residential and marina development at Whiteness. Development on this scale will require substantial investment in transport and water and drainage infrastructure and the creation of supporting green infrastructure. The STPR has identified the need to dual the A96 between Inverness and Nairn and provide a new rail station, airport interchange and park-and-ride facilities at Dalcross. It has also identified a package of improvements to the Aberdeen - Inverness rail line which would reduce journey times between the two cities by 20 minutes and improve the connectivity of communities along the route.
215. Energy has an important part to play in the future of the Highlands and Islands. Substantial reinforcements of the electricity transmission system are needed to realise the potential of renewable energy resources, including new inter_connectors for the island archipelagos and measures to address capacity constraints in Argyll. Projects being developed at the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney place Scotland at the forefront of marine energy research. Co-ordinated action to harness the huge renewable energy potential of the Pentland Firth is being taken forward by the Scottish Government in conjunction with its partners in the Pentland Firth Tidal Energy Project. The sheltered deep water of Sullom Voe offers the potential to create a ship-to-ship and shore-based oil transfer facility, and Lerwick and Sullom Voe offer opportunities for the decommissioning of offshore structures. The Lerwick district heating scheme is a pioneering example of the application of energy from waste technology. The UK Atomic Energy Authority's facilities at Dounreay in Caithness are developing expertise in nuclear decommissioning and environmental restoration. The Government is committed to addressing the economic and social impacts of decommissioning at Dounreay.
216. In partnership with other agencies, Highland Council has prepared a strategy for the development of ports and sites in the Inner Moray Firth. The Cromarty Firth provides service base facilities and sheltered moorings for the offshore oil and gas industry and Invergordon is a regular port of call for cruise ships. The fabrication yard at Nigg has potential as a facility for decommissioning oil and gas installations and the manufacture and support services required by the renewable energy industry. Its deep water is an asset of strategic importance.
217. The sheltered deep water of Scapa Flow is a major strategic asset. In collaboration with HIE and with the involvement of the Crown Estate, Orkney Islands Council is pursuing the potential for a container transhipment terminal at Lyness on Hoy.
218. Fort William's success in hosting the world mountain-biking championships secured international media coverage of the attractions of Lochaber. The redevelopment of Fort William's waterfront will substantially improve environmental quality and amenity in the town, helping to strengthen its role as a national centre for outdoor activities.
219. Targeted support will continue to be needed in areas such as north Sutherland and some of the islands which are still experiencing decline, and in parts of Moray and Caithness where more jobs need to be created. The challenge in the remoter areas is to replicate the successes already achieved in places like Skye and Mull. Through the fragile areas programme, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and local authorities are giving particular attention to the needs of the Outer Hebrides, North Skye, the outlying islands of Orkney and Shetland, the Argyll islands and the remote west mainland (see Map 9). The Government is pursuing the introduction of Road Equivalent Tariff ( RET) for ferry services and seeking to improve access and connectivity by promoting innovation on existing ferry routes and new or shorter crossings to the islands. Arran, Bute, Greater and Little Cumbrae and the parts of Highland not already within the Crofting Counties are to be designated as new crofting areas.
220. Our islands possess considerable social capital, with high participation rates in community and voluntary activities. The transformation which has occurred on Gigha demonstrates the potential of community-based enterprise. Remote and island areas function differently from urban and other rural areas. Island towns such as Lerwick, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Portree have service functions more usually associated with much larger settlements. Measures are needed to protect communities, habitats and archaeological sites from coastal flooding. Laying fibre optic cables in conjunction with the sub-sea interconnectors to the Shetland Islands, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides would extend digital connectivity to the islands.
221. The first National Planning Framework highlighted the economic and demographic challenges facing the Outer Hebrides and the opportunities offered by renewable and other energy resources. A Scottish Government supported Economic and Community Benefit Study has recommended measures to ensure that the considerable renewable energy potential of the islands is developed in a manner which safeguards environmental resources and delivers community benefits. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is promoting Stornoway's Western Harbour as an Energy Portal for the Outer Hebrides. The harbour would provide the landfall for a sub-sea interconnector to the mainland. Relocation of oil and gas import and storage facilities to the Western Harbour will facilitate the release of a substantial area of land for redevelopment on the town's waterfront. The harbours of the Outer Hebrides might also have a role to play in the development of North Atlantic oil and gas reserves.
222. The Outer Hebrides are the principal heartland of Scotland's Gaelic culture and offer outstanding scenery and maritime habitats of international importance. With 40% of the land area now under community control and 70% of the population living on community-owned land, there is great potential for community-based enterprise. There are large international markets for Celtic culture, built heritage and environmental tourism. Realising the potential of the islands will demand co-ordinated action focused on measures to diversify and grow the economy, create high value jobs, retain and attract population, and improve connectivity and communications.
223. The Highlands and Islands contain the majority of Scotland's National Scenic Areas and substantial areas designated under the EU Habitats Directive to protect habitats and species of international importance. Scotland's National Parks protect some of our most precious natural heritage and make an important contribution to our tourism and leisure economy. They are important drivers of innovation in sustainable rural development and land management. The Scottish Government intends to change the southern boundary of Cairngorm National Park. The boundary change will require a revision to the Cairngorms National Park Designation Order. The Highlands and Islands also have many outstanding archaeological sites, a varied built heritage and important cultural landscapes. These assets are essential aspects of the character and identity of the area and vital to its tourist economy. Glen Finglas and Loch Katrine in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park are the focus of the largest broadleaved woodland restoration project in Scotland. The European beaver has been reintroduced to the Knapdale Forest in Argyll on a trial basis. The return of this species contributes significantly to the restoration of Scotland's natural ecology. The Highlands are traversed by three popular long-distance footpath routes, the West Highland Way, the Great Glen Way and the Speyside Way. There is potential to strengthen the roles of centres such as Inverness, Perth and Stirling as gateways to the Highlands.
AYRSHIRE AND THE SOUTH-WEST
224. Ayrshire and the South-West is a diverse area encompassing important centres of economic activity with strong links to the Glasgow City Region as well as extensive upland and coastal areas which are much more rural in character, some of which are of very high environmental quality. The area functions as an important western gateway for Scotland. The aim must be to build on the success of Prestwick Airport, strengthen key ports and strategic transport corridors between Ireland and the Continent and realise the potential of deep-water assets at Hunterston. There is a need to improve rail and road links to secure better integration with the Central Belt. The STPR has confirmed that investment in rail infrastructure to provide the increased capacity needed to support services through Glasgow would substantially improve rail connectivity with the rest of Scotland. It has also concluded that enhancements such as a bypass at Dalry would help to reduce conflict between local and long-distance traffic on the A737 and improve journey time reliability. Carriageway and junction improvements on the A77 to the west and south of Ayr will improve the efficiency of access to the ports on Loch Ryan.
225. To date, Ayrshire has been less successful than some other areas in securing knowledge economy investment to replace jobs lost in traditional industries. The challenge is to maintain population around existing levels to support services and to provide access to new job opportunities by creating competitive business environments and locations. The Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan, Growing a Sustainable Ayrshire, identifies a core area around the towns of Ayr, Irvine and Kilmarnock as having the greatest potential to attract new investment. The transport corridors linking Prestwick Airport and the ports of Ayr, Troon and Hunterston with the main urban centres of the Central Belt provide good locations for developing clusters of export-oriented industries and a stronger service sector. The energetics cluster on the Ardeer peninsula offers substantial economic development potential.
226. The improved link to the Glasgow Conurbation provided by the M77 has acted as a catalyst for new residential development in the Kilmarnock area. Transport Scotland is working with Network Rail to provide an extended loop between Dunlop and Stewarton to allow a half-hourly rail service between Glasgow and Kilmarnock. With the loss of its traditional industries, Kilmarnock is increasingly functioning as a dormitory for the Glasgow Conurbation. The challenge is to identify a new economic role.
227. South Ayrshire Council is taking forward an ambitious strategy for the renaissance of Ayr town centre. Arran and parts of the Ayrshire coast already have a successful tourism and leisure economy. The area's good international links provide opportunities for the further development of cultural, business and activity-based tourism. The Irvine Bay Urban Regeneration Company is working to find new economic uses for land allocated for business and industry and broaden the range of recreational opportunities in the area. The masterplan for the area includes proposals for new residential development around Irvine harbour, a new marina at Ardrossan, and an eco-village and watersports centre at Stevenston, as well as seafront improvements and the creation of new woodland.
228. Action is needed to improve environmental quality in the former mining areas of East Ayrshire and to promote regeneration and economic diversification in small towns. In North and East Ayrshire there are opportunities to integrate green infrastructure initiatives and the restoration of vacant and derelict land with the wider Central Scotland Green Network. Upland areas offer opportunities for renewable energy developments, including biomass production. The new South West Scotland transmission line will ensure that acceptable wind farm development within the broad areas of search identified in development plans is not constrained by lack of grid capacity. The Ayrshire and Arran Woodland Strategy places emphasis on the potential for enhancing landscape quality and biodiversity and creating multi-purpose woodlands which benefit local communities and offer employment in planting, management and downstream activities. The councils in Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway are collaborating on the development of a programme of management and environmental enhancement for the Galloway Hills.
229. For the South-West, proximity to Ireland and Cumbria offer substantial business opportunities, particularly in tourism and leisure. There is potential for developing the area's strengths in forestry and quality produce and as a place to live and work. Strengthening the role of Dumfries as the main regional centre and transport hub will benefit the whole of the South-West. Efforts are being directed towards improving the quality and vitality of the town centre, building on existing cultural and physical assets. There is a need to reconnect the town centre with the riverfront, manage flood risk on the River Nith and improve links with the Crichton University Campus and Business Park. The success of Wigtown Book Town and its Festival, the Newton Stewart Walking Festival and the lively arts and cultural scene in Kirkcudbright highlight the potential for the thematic branding and marketing of the area's attractive environment and historic small towns.
230. New port development on Loch Ryan will provide a modern international gateway between Scotland and Ireland, offering increased freight capacity, reduced journey times and new opportunities for tourism. The relocation of Stena Line's ferry operation to the new port opens opportunities for major redevelopment on the Stranraer waterfront.
231. The STPR has identified interventions on the West Coast Main Line which would provide greater opportunity to move freight by rail rather than road between Scotland and England. Transport Scotland will take forward improvements to the West Coast Main Line in partnership with the UK Department for Transport.
SOUTH OF SCOTLAND
232. The South of Scotland is strategically well placed on the major road and rail routes between Scotland and England. The South of Scotland Competitiveness Strategy 2007-2013 seeks to promote the area as a vibrant rural economy exploiting its proximity to Belfast, Carlisle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle. Opportunities lie in economic diversification and strengthening the knowledge economy, building on the rich environment and cultural heritage of the area, adding value to primary assets, the large potential for renewable energy development, quality produce, and the design skills associated with the textiles and electronics industries. The higher and further education facilities at Crichton Campus in Dumfries and Heriot-Watt University's Borders Campus in Galashiels will be key economic drivers. The area needs to develop an indigenous institutional framework as vigorous and successful as that of the Highlands and Islands.
233. The planned improvement of transport links to the Borders will create new development opportunities and allow the area to accommodate some of the household growth projected in the East of Scotland. Significant investment in water and drainage infrastructure is needed to support the new development associated with the reopening of the Borders rail line.
234. The towns and villages of the South of Scotland play a key role in the economy, culture, sporting traditions and quality of life of the region. Many are of considerable historic interest and are important attractions for tourists. Market Towns Investment Programmes are being developed to ensure that the towns of the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway are attractive, competitive places. Dumfries town centre, Stranraer waterfront and the Gretna-Lockerbie-Annan area are the subject of major regeneration initiatives. There is potential to develop Gretna's gateway role on the Scotland - England Border.
235. The Southern Uplands Partnership is promoting the integration of environmental, social and economic land use policies to keep people living and working in upland areas. The development of processing capacity can add value to agricultural and timber production. Improvements in transport infrastructure will be needed to cope with the volume of timber generated by the increased levels of harvesting from commercial forests. The Borders Forest Trust is promoting the expansion of native woodland through innovative projects such as new community woodlands, the restoration of floodplain habitats in the Ettrick Marshes and the Wildwood project at Carrifran in the Moffat Hills. Dumfries and Galloway Council and SNH are implementing joint visions for the National Scenic Areas of the Solway Firth as a guide for future management.
236. The river catchments of the South of Scotland offer particular attractions for game fishing. The coastal areas and rich built heritage of the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway also provide many opportunities for tourism and recreation. The Southern Upland Way is an increasingly popular coast-to-coast walking route and there is an extensive network of signed cycling routes. The
7 Stanes network of mountain-biking centres is proving a major attraction for devotees of this increasingly popular outdoor sport. Improving the environmental quality of the M74 corridor could open up significant economic and recreational opportunities related to this important gateway route.
237. The recent closure of the nuclear power station at Chapelcross near Annan offers opportunities to develop business excellence in Magnox reactor decommissioning.
|THE 7 STANES NETWORK OF MOUNTAIN-BIKING IS PROVING A MAJOR ATTRACTION|
238. The main elements of the development strategy set out in the preceding two sections are shown on Map 9. The map identifies Scotland's cities, international gateways and the deep water opportunities at Hunterston, Scapa Flow, Sullom Voe and Nigg. It highlights the key economic development corridors and strategic transport routes which will be important in supporting Scotland's development to 2030 and identifies the potential extent of the Central Scotland Green Network. It promotes the need for economic diversification and environmental stewardship in rural areas, draws attention to the great potential for marine energy development around our coasts, and highlights the Government's aspiration to create a sub-sea electricity transmission network. It identifies the Clyde Corridor, West Edinburgh, Central Ayrshire, the Upper Forth, the Inverness - Nairn Corridor and the Pentland Firth as areas where co-ordinated action is needed to support economic development, regeneration and the harnessing of marine energy resources. The national developments which the Government has identified as essential components of the strategy are shown on Map 10.
MAP 9 STRATEGY
MAP 10 NATIONAL DESIGNATIONS