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Caithness News Bulletins March 2003

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Rural transport investment package

A multi-million pound investment package for rural transport networks across the country was announced today.

At the Convention of the Highlands and Islands in Elgin, Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace pledged a further £11.9 million for schemes which support rural services – mainly bus but also ferry and community transport services.

The funding, part of the Executive’s Rural Transport Fund, provides £5.8 million for 2004-5 and a further £6.1 million for 2005-6.

This includes £2 million, the largest award to date for the Highland region. Funding will be given to Scotland’s Local Authorities who decide how best to allocate the money.

Mr Wallace said:

"Modern and efficient rural transport is vital for linking communities with jobs, health and leisure facilities and that is why it is one of the Scottish Executive’s key priorities.

"Rural areas have particular needs and we are committed to improving transport in these areas. I am therefore very pleased to be able to announce this funding which will make a real difference to the quality of life for people in rural areas."

Today's announcement follows former Transport Minister Sarah Boyack’s £18 million funding package for rural communities in March 2001 which set out Rural Passenger Public Transport funding for the period up to 2003-4.

The Rural Transport Fund was launched in March 1998 and has three strands:

  • The Rural Public Passenger Transport grant enables local authorities to provide additional rural public transport services. All Scottish Local Authorities (except the four city councils) receive allocations.

  • The Rural Community Transport Initiative assists voluntary organisations to provide community transport in rural areas of Scotland where public transport is limited. Last month 55 projects across Scotland shared a funding boost of £3.381 million.

  • The Rural Petrol Grant Scheme helps rural petrol stations meet costs of tank replacement and groundwater protection requirements and encourages Liquefied Petroleum Gas provision in rural areas.

The Highlands and Islands Convention is normally held twice a year and brings together the Executive, local authorities, local enterprise companies, area tourist boards and other organisations. It is a forum for discussing a range of economic and social development matters.

Breakdown of the funding by region:









Argyll & Bute






Dumfries & Galloway



East Ayrshire



East Dunbartonshire



East Lothian



East Renfrewshire



Eilean Siar





















North Ayrshire



North Lanarkshire



Orkney Islands



Perthshire & Kinross






Scottish Borders



Shetland Islands



South Ayrshire



South Lanarkshire






West Dunbartonshire



West Lothian