It is unfortunate that plans for the Glasgow Airport Rail link seem to be back on the agenda. We have made our reservations on these proposals clear on many occasions but would like to take this opportunity to once again look at the problems associated with this scheme.
We fully understand that the scheme would create many jobs both in the construction phase and in the enhanced passenger throughput for the airport, but construction firms tend to use their own on-book skilled labour force so we believe that the benefit to the people of Renfrewshire would be minimal. In return Renfrewshire would suffer all of the social, environmental and economic costs involved in making sure that travellers from Glasgow can get to their flights without ever having to set foot in Renfrewshire. It makes little sense. We also believe that the rail link would be vastly uneconomic unless heavily subsidised in its day-to-day operation and we are unsure what contribution the airport authorities would make towards both the construction and the running of this service designed to enhance the profitability of the airport.
We believe that if such a project has to go ahead, and we are not convinced that it must, especially when every environmental group is campaigning to reduce air travel, then there has to be a radical re-think of the whole thing from the bottom up. It is our belief that any proposed new line should go from Glasgow to Braehead, increasing the footfall to that centre which seems to be a priority for Renfrewshire Council. The line should proceed from there to Renfrew, which would increase the access infrastructure of the largest town in Scotland without a railway station and enhance the economic activity and employment in that area. It should then enter the airport from the Inchinnan end.
This would mean that all of the prospective jobs in construction and in the airport would be maintained and would be of some benefit to Renfrewshire and its people. It would also make the line more useful and might, through increased use, reduce the need for public subsidy.