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GLASGOW AIRPORT RAIL LINK BILL SUPPORTED

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Plans to build a rail link to Glasgow Airport have been recommended to proceed through to the next stage of parliam...
Plans to build a rail link to Glasgow Airport have been recommended to proceed through to the next stage of parliamentary scrutiny.

The Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill Committee announced today it has agreed the general principles of the Bill.

In its report, the committee welcomes some of the benefits the Bill could provide, such as the creation of jobs in the West of Scotland.

But it insists more could be done to improve the business case for the link and to increase potential passenger numbers.

Margaret Jamieson MSP, convener of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, said:

'We are satisfied that the rail link could provide a useful service to the ever increasing number of passengers using Glasgow Airport.

'It will also bring economic and employment benefits to relatively deprived areas of West Scotland and lead to a reduction in traffic on the M8.

'We urge the minister for transport, Tavish Scott, to consider the benefits of a cross-rail scheme which could offer direct connections between Glasgow Queen Street and the airport. This will increase direct connections from other stations therefore increasing passenger numbers.

'More detailed discussions must also take place with the emergency services and with park and ride operators close to the airport.'

Deputy convener, Marlyn Glen MSP, added:

'Not only will the rail link offer public transport directly to Glasgow Airport, it will reduce overcrowding and improve reliability in the rail network in North and South Ayrshire.'

The parliament's debate on the committee's preliminary stage report is expected to take place later this month when it will be asked to agree that the Bill should proceed to the next stage of the private bill process, Consideration Stage.

One committee member, Brian Monteith MSP, dissented to paragraphs 146, 147 and 206 of the report.

Background to the Bill

The Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill is being promoted by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT). SPT is seeking statutory authority to construct a rail link between Glasgow Central Station and a new station at Glasgow Airport.

At preliminary stage, the committee has three functions:

1. To consider and report on the general principles of the Bill;

2. To consider and report on whether the Bill should proceed as a Private Bill, that is to say:

* Is the purpose of the Bill to obtain for the promoter particular powers or benefits in excess of, or in conflict with, the general law?

* Do the accompanying documents lodged with the Bill satisfy the technical criteria that are set down in the Standing Orders and are they adequate to allow proper scrutiny of the Bill?

3. To give preliminary consideration to the objections and reject any objection where the objector's interests are, in the opinion of the committee, not clearly adversely affected by the Private Bill.

Forty seven admissible objections to the Bill were lodged (two of which have subsequently been withdrawn). Fifteen objections, or parts of objections, concerned the principle of the Bill but were rejected by the committee. The committee agreed that the remaining objections should progress to consideration stage, where further evidence will be taken from both objectors and the promoter of the Bill.

Background to Private Bills

Private Bills are subject to different procedures than those set out for a Public Bill. Chapter 9A of Standing Orders and the Guidance on Private Bills set out the procedures in full. Private Bills are subject to a three Stage process: Preliminary Stage, Consideration Stage and Final Stage.

Should the parliament agree to the general principles at Preliminary Stage, the Bill will proceed to Consideration Stage. Consideration Stage is in two phases. The first phase involves evidence being taken from the promoter and objectors to the Bill. The Committee will then report with its decision on every outstanding objection to the Bill.

The second phase is purely legislative, dealing with amendments to the Bill. Final Stage involves possible further amendments, followed by a debate in the parliament and a vote on whether to pass the Bill in its final form.

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