FORTH VALLEY must ask immediately if it is to improve transport issues and establish the groundwork for future growth, according to a new report.

The Bridging Divides, Connecting Communities report, compiled and published from the Forth Valley Connectivity Commission, has identified three strategies to drastically modernise transport and economy challenges in the region.

The three strategies are: changes in how planning decisions are made, redeveloping and reenergising urban centres to become attractive places to live, work and socialise; and enhanced walking and cycling routes and public transport windows.

The report identifies Forth Valley as an area of concern, describing the built environments as being “outdated, car-dominated [with] declining retail.”

The report urges key stakeholders in the region to step up to change current practices across Forth Valley, aiming to bring the region in line with similar areas across Europe.

Bob Duff, chair of the Forth Valley Connectivity Commission, said: “The Forth Valley is at a crossroads.

“Landmark investment is catalysing the region’s journey from one dominated by traditional industry to new, low-cardon ways of working.

“Our mission was to consider what changes to connectivity are necessary to ensure that this transition leaves no one behind and that new opportunities are accessible for all.

“The Forth Valley Connectivity Commission’s recommendations are bold but they represent the scale of thinking needed for the Forth Valley to maintain pace with similar regions elsewhere in the world.

“If the Forth Valley is going to seize this exciting opportunity for its people, then the time to act is now.”

The report highlights greater collaboration between the three regions – Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Falkirk – as pivotal in improving the transport sector.

Major inward investment programmes, such as the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal and the Falkirk Growth Deal, must be set aside and allow the authorities to work together to make meaningful change in the region.

The report was presented to the region’s three local authority leaders at a launch event at the University of Stirling Transport Hub on Monday, November 27.

Councillor Ellen Forson, Clacks Council leader, said: “I would like to thank the Commission for their hard work in compiling this report.

“Now is the time to reflect on its findings and how best to move forward, with a view to taking some actions that will deliver the best outcomes for our communities.

“We also have to consider this through formal governance and alongside the Forth Valley Regional Economic Strategy which is at an advanced stage of development.”

The full report can be found here.