An MSP is seeking to introduce a bill to ensure that seat belts become a legal requirement on all dedicated home-to-school transport in Scotland - without going through the usual consultation process for a member's bill.
Gillian Martin, SNP member for Aberdeenshire East, is asking Holyrood to waive the usual requirement because the Scottish Government, which has had a longstanding intention to introduce the requirement and recently secured the devolved competence for Holyrood to do so, carried out its own consultation during the spring of this year, the analysis of which has just been published.
According to the report, the 79 responses to the consultation indicated a strong level of support for the proposed legislation, both amongst members of the public and by organisations with an interest in the provision of dedicated school transport - though some queried the likely impact of the proposed changes, citing the low rate of accidents involving school buses.
With 17 local authorities in Scotland already stipulating seatbelts as a requirement in all dedicated school bus contracts, and a further six requiring it on some contracts, Ms Martin states that her proposed legislation "would therefore ensure this important safety measure becomes universal on dedicated school transport across the country".
She adds: "I consider that there has been ample opportunity for key stakeholders and the wider public to express their views on these proposals and that no further formal consultation exercise is required on my proposal for a bill. I believe that adequate material has been published on this issue and is sufficiently detailed to inform the bill’s policy objectives and eventual production."
The Scottish Government has the right to block a member's proposal on the grounds that either it or the UK Government will legislate in similar terms.