Opposition parties in Scotland have joined forces to put pressure on the Scottish government in a bid to resurrect plans for a rail link to Glasgow Airport.
Initially proposed in 2014, the construction of the network would see Glasgow Central Station connected to the airport for the first time as part of a £1.13bn Glasgow City Region deal.
It was hoped that the railway would start construction by 2022 and be operating by 2025 but plans are yet to get off the ground due to capacity concerns.
Speaking at Holyrood on Tuesday (22 January), Scottish Labour MSP Colin Smyth urged for its development by saying the railway was “badly needed” not just for Glasgow but for the whole of Scotland.
“Failure to tackle capacity at Central Station does not justify the lack of action,” he said. “The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland need to work with the Glasgow city region partners to find solutions, not more excuses. Once again, it’s the SNP who are seeking to put barriers in the way to a proposal that everyone can support. To our shame, it’s the largest UK airport that isn’t served by rail, a rail link is badly needed.”
Calls for the rail link have been mounting as research continues to show the need for the infrastructure to be put in place. A report published in September showed 16,000 more vehicles a day were using the stretch of motorway between the Glasgow city centre and the airport.
Following the report, the airport’s managing director Mark Johnston said the rail link would relieve the M8 “of at least 10% of airport traffic” and that it could be the difference between congestion and free flowing traffic.
Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene backed the calls for a connection to the airport.
Speaking to Scottish parliament, he said: “We agree that this Glasgow Airport rail link needs to be progressed as a matter of urgency. There are clear and vital reasons why this project should go ahead. There are major connectivity issues in connecting Glasgow Airport to the west region.”
Responding to opposition MSP's, transport and infrastrcuture secretary Michael Matheson told parliament that a meeting with key parties was set to be held next week in an attempt to progress the issue.