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Rail

What will independence mean for Scotland’s rail services?

Since 2005, powers to specify and fund work on the Scottish rail network have been devolved. However, discussion about the overall structure of the rail industry remains reserved to Westminster, along with safety and standards.

Independence will not result in any immediate change to rail services. However, future governments of an independent Scotland will have greater flexibility over the budgets available to support rail services and over franchise arrangements and ownership models.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will railways in an independent Scotland be re-nationalised?

The existing ScotRail franchise ends on 31 March 2015 and competitions for the replacement ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises are underway. The ScotRail franchise will be let for 10 years with a review after five years. The Caledonian Sleeper franchise will be let for up to 15 years.

After these franchises have completed, the government of an independent Scotland will, under existing European legislation, have the opportunity to consider all options for the delivery of passenger services, including public sector options.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will cross-border services still run?

Yes. Cross-border rail services operate throughout Europe every day, linking cities and people across national boundaries. Governments work in partnership to deliver rail services of economic and social importance. Scotland and the rest of the UK will be no different in that respect.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scottish customers be disadvantaged over fare pricing for these services?

No. An independent Scotland will have the opportunity of a greater role in determining cross-border franchise arrangements. Today in Europe, passengers can book a ticket on services connecting the Netherlands, Belgium and France without nationality playing a factor in fares costs. There is no reason why a similar situation should not apply between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What will happen to rail fares in Scotland post-independence?

The Scottish Government is already responsible for specifying regulated rail fare increases within its franchise agreements. Independence will not change these arrangements.

The current policy in Scotland has led to lower rail fare increases than in England. As of January 2013, the maximum rail fare increase for regulated fares was 3.1 per cent in Scotland, compared to an average increase of 4.1 per cent in England. In addition, off-peak fares will be frozen in Scotland. Within the next franchise period from April 2015, the Scottish Government has committed to bearing down further on the cost of fares for passengers by ensuring that ScotRail peak fares do not increase by more than inflation, and ScotRail off-peak fares will rise not greater than one per cent below inflation.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will franchises being let now still apply?

Yes. The Scottish Government proposes no change to current plans for the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises and these will continue to operate as planned.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will UK franchises for cross-border services have to be renegotiated with the Government of an independent Scotland?

With the exception of the Caledonian Sleeper, the Westminster Government is currently responsible for cross-border franchises and receives all of the money paid by operators. This arrangement will need to be renegotiated. Negotiation will not, however, affect the day to day delivery of the franchises. Given the importance of these routes to Scotland and the rest of the UK, it will be in both countries’ interests to put in place arrangements to ensure the continued operation of cross-border services.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will plans for high speed rail between Glasgow and Edinburgh be affected by independence?

No. The Scottish Government is currently developing plans for high speed rail infrastructure in Scotland. This will improve the journey times for future Scotland to England services and also provide a fast, dedicated capacity in high speed rail service between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It will also free up the central belt so more services to other areas of Scotland can be created.

The current planning is independent of what is being developed in England, but will clearly be designed to be compatible. Independence will have no impact on these plans.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will plans for high speed rail between Scotland and England be affected by independence?

Current confirmed Westminster plans exclude Scotland and Northern England, with the next phases of high-speed rail only due to connect London with Birmingham in 2026 and then Leeds and Manchester by 2033.

While this investment will bring some benefits between the Central Belt and London, the economic benefits to Scotland, the North East and far North West of England are marginal compared to those which will accrue to other areas of the UK. Indeed, Westminster’s own analysis shows that the economies of Aberdeen and Dundee may suffer from such a partial approach.

Despite a much stronger business case from a network that includes Scotland and previous calls, not just from the Scottish Government but councils in the North of England and civic and business Scotland too, it is only now that Westminster has agreed to plan for high speed to go beyond Manchester and Leeds.

Consistent with the Borderlands initiative, an independent Scotland could work together with northern English councils to argue the case more strongly for High Speed to go further North faster. High Speed Rail will also attract air travellers from Glasgow and Edinburgh to London, freeing air slots to maintain air access to Aberdeen and Inverness, which with rail improvements will maintain and enhance the connectivity of these economically vibrant cities.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What will happen to Network Rail in Scotland?

Network Rail is a private company limited by guarantee and will continue to operate as it does now, regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation. The Scottish Government will expect to become a member of Network Rail with membership rights equivalent to those currently held by the Department for Transport to ensure it best meets its obligations with respect to an independent Scottish Government.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What will happen to Network Rail’s debt, which is currently guaranteed by the Westminster Government?

An independent Scotland will continue to meet its rail financing obligations – including the servicing of regulatory debt for Scotland. This is in line with the determination made by the Office of Rail Regulation for the period 2014 to 2019. The Scottish Government will continue to meet any obligations with respect to the financing of Network Rail in Scotland, and, if required, the Scottish Government will provide its own Financial Indemnity Mechanism (FIM) to support this. Under these circumstances Network Rail would pay a fee to the Scottish Government to reflect the benefit it received from the FIM.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

If I buy a travel pass or season ticket before independence that continues into independence will it be valid for the whole period?

Yes. The Scottish Government proposes no change to the ScotRail franchise, which will operate as normal. All passes and tickets will remain valid.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Roads

Who will be responsible for the road network in an independent Scotland?

The Scottish Government is already responsible for roads. This will not change with independence.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will there be road charging in an independent Scotland?

The current Scottish Government has no plans to introduce road charging.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Buses and Trams

Who will be responsible for public transport, such as buses and trams, in an independent Scotland?

Many powers relating to public transport are already devolved and in an independent Scotland decisions on them will continue to be made as they are now by the Scottish Parliament and Government.

However, some further powers will also transfer to the Scottish Parliament on independence. For example, the registration and funding of bus services is already devolved but the responsibility for licensing and permits for bus operators, drivers and vehicles currently rests with Westminster.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Aviation

What will happen to Air Passenger Duty in an independent Scotland?

Air Passenger Duty is currently set by the Westminster Government. With independence, the Scottish Parliament will be able to set Air Passenger Duty at a level that suits Scotland – or abolish it entirely.

It is estimated that Air Passenger Duty will cost Scotland more than £200 million a year in lost tourism spend alone by 2016. In addition to the direct losses to the Scottish economy, another report earlier this year found that reducing Air Passenger Duty would increase receipts from other taxes, such as VAT.

As an early priority for action following independence the current Scottish Government proposes a 50 per cent reduction in APD, with a view to eventual abolition of the tax when public finances allow.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will an independent Scotland protect links to London airports?

The number of flights to London from Scotland has been reducing.

With independence, the Scottish Government will be able to protect routes. The present Government would propose to promote Public Service Obligations on routes that benefit the economy most. The current Scottish Government will prioritise a 50 per cent reduction in APD, with a view to eventual abolition of the tax when public finances allow.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will there be more direct flights into an independent Scotland?

More long haul flights operate into independent countries, for example into Denmark and Ireland which are similar in size to Scotland.

The government of an independent Scotland will be able to develop an aviation policy that suits the people of Scotland. This could include the develop of new routes to strategically important markets, such as Asia, boosting tourism by encouraging the use of direct flights to Scottish airports, and working at the top table in the European Union – as an independent member state – to develop more efficient and co-operative international regulation.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will air traffic services be managed in an independent Scotland?

Airspace will be managed in the same way as it is currently managed with the emphasis on allowing the free and safe movement of aircraft.

The Westminster Government has a 49 per cent shareholding in National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and one of its two operational centres is based at Prestwick.

On independence, it is the intention of the current Scottish Government that NATS will continue its services for Scotland. The Scottish Government will negotiate an appropriate share for Scotland of Westminster’s stake in NATS.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Freight

What will independence mean for regulation of the road freight sector in Scotland?

The road freight sector is governed primarily through European legislation, which is aimed at ensuring the free movement of goods and fair competition across Europe. EU rules govern drivers’ hours and working time regulations; common rules on international movement of goods across member states; vehicle standards; vehicle weights and dimensions; initial driver training and drivers Certificate of Professional Competence; the operator licensing regime; health and safety requirements; and a range of regulations aimed at improving road safety including rules governing the carriage of dangerous goods.

As an independent Member State of the EU, Scotland will continue to comply with European regulations. Implementation of EU legislation into UK law (and exercise of any aspects where there is a degree of discretion) is currently a reserved matter, however, and so this responsibility would transfer to the Scottish Parliament as a result of independence. Given the extent of EU regulation, the scope for significant change to the rules is limited but the current Scottish Government plans to achieve a healthy and sustainable freight industry in Scotland that would be able to compete effectively in the European single market.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would relevant regulations be aligned with the rest of the UK?

Would a Scottish Government want to pursue a distinct course over time? As a member of the EU, an independent Scotland will meet its obligations under EU law with regards to the haulage industry. Regulation that is in place immediately before independence will be inherited on independence. Thereafter decisions on the regulatory framework will be made by the Parliament and government of an independent Scotland in line with Scotland’s interests and to suit Scotland’s circumstances.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What effect would independence have on the movement of goods by road between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and between Scotland and other countries?

Under EU regulations, all hauliers carrying out the movement of goods under ‘hire and reward’ between member states must have a standard international operator’s licence and a community authorisation licence.

In a modern global economy many companies already operate across a number of different countries without difficulty. The Scottish Government has made clear its intention to ensure an independent Scotland remains an attractive and competitive place to do business.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Motoring Services

Will an independent Scotland have its own driver and vehicle licencing and driving standards agency?

Powers over these issues will transfer to the Scottish Parliament as a result of independence. It is the current Scottish Government’s intention to continue to use the services of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Driving Standards Agency, and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency in the immediate post-independence period. These agencies are currently selffunded through user fees. Scottish users, therefore contribute fully to the cost of providing these services.

Independence will allow the Scottish Parliament to determine the best way to deliver these services in the future. The current Scottish Government proposes the creation of a new, streamlined Scottish Motor Services Agency, which will bring together the functions of DVLA, DSA, VOSA, and Vehicle Certification Agency. By the end of the first term of an independent Parliament, the current Scottish Government would plan to have completed the design and development work, with a view to the Agency going live early in the second Parliament.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will we need to reapply for driving licences if Scotland becomes independent?

No. The Scottish Government intends that the driver licensing regime will remain in place at the point of independence. This will ensure all licences granted by the DVLA are recognised in Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will an independent Scotland change the UK legislation for bus, coach and lorry drivers’ Certificate of Professional Competence training?

This is a decision for future elected Governments of an independent Scotland. This Government has no plans to change the present regime for Certificate of Professional Competence training.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scotland retain the role of Traffic Commissioner?

Yes. The Scottish Government’s intention is that an independent Scotland will retain the Traffic Commissioner’s role.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Ferries

How will ferry services be managed in an independent Scotland?

Ferries are an essential part of Scotland’s transport network. The quality of our ferry services impacts on us all, affecting both island and mainland communities. The Scottish Government is fully committed to delivering first class sustainable ferry services to our communities, stimulating social and economic growth across Scotland.

The planned improvements to Scotland’s ferry services, as set out in our recently published Ferries Plan will enable our rural and remote communities to thrive, and continue to make a significant contribution to Scotland’s economy. With the fully integrated transport system that independence will deliver, we can ensure the best alignment between ferries and other modes of transport.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Maritime

How will maritime services be delivered in an independent Scotland?

What will change in maritime functions with independence? Scotland has approximately 60 per cent of the seas and coastline of Great Britain. However, the essential maritime institutions (the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Northern Lighthouse Board and Marine Accident Investigation Branch) are currently controlled by Westminster. The Scottish Government currently has no say in how these essential services are delivered.

Independence will let Scotland shape and develop maritime services that reflect our unique coastline and give the people who use our seas the support they need. The Scottish Government intends that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will continue to provide its services for the safety of mariners. It also plans that the Northern Lighthouse Board and Marine Accident Investigation Branch will continue its role unchanged in an independent Scotland, funded by existing arrangements for the collection of light dues at Scottish ports through Trinity House.

It will then be for future governments of an independent Scotland to look at how these services would be provided in the years ahead. This may, if appropriate, include developing a distinct Scottish organisation to deliver some or all of these functions.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will an independent Scotland remain a member of international organisations like the International Maritime Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation when independent?

Aviation and maritime regulations will continue to apply in an independent Scotland as these activities, by their nature, are subject to international regulations. The Scottish Government intends that Scotland, as an independent state, will become a member of these organisations.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will the Royal National Lifeboat Institution continue to provide services?

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is totally independent of government and serves the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well as the United Kingdom. The RNLI is an integral part of the maritime search and rescue structure. Its purpose is to save lives at sea and the organisation has a proud history of providing lifeboat services and volunteer crews. Decisions about the RNLI are for the Institution itself, but we can see no obstacle to it continuing to play its vital role around the coasts of Scotland as it does around the rest of these islands.

There is a long history of maritime search and rescue being co-ordinated across borders and boundaries with all available resources and vessels deployed to assist in any incident. This will continue to be the case after independence.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scotland register ships?

Yes. The present Scottish Government intends that an independent Scotland will set up a Shipping Register.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will the standards for vessels be the same as in the rest of the UK?

Most standards for shipping and vessel safety are set by international agreement through the International Maritime Organisation and the EU and these will continue to apply in an independent Scotland as they do for the rest of the UK.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will there be any changes to the operation or structure of harbour authorities?

All of the Statutory Harbour Authorities in Scotland operate under their own local legislation. There is no reason for this to change with independence.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.