Call for Scotland to be part of unified UK approach to travel

The UK Government has announced that non-essential trips abroad from England will get the go-ahead from May 17.

Call for Scotland to be part of unified UK approach to travel Mark Scates via SNS Group
The next big date for the easing of lockdown restrictions is May 17.

Edinburgh Airport has called for Scotland to be part of a “unified four-nation approach” to the easing of international travel restrictions ahead of a decision expected next week.

The statement came after the fourth meeting of the Scottish travel taskforce on Tuesday afternoon.

While the UK Government has announced that non-essential trips abroad from England will get the go-ahead from May 17, there has been no indication the same will apply in Scotland where a ban remains in place due to Covid-19.

On Sunday, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced that a new “traffic light system” of varying rules for people returning from different countries would be published soon.

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Countries on the green list are expected to allow those visiting on holidays to return to the UK without the need to quarantine.

The next big date for the easing of lockdown restrictions is May 17, which will allow people to meet in small numbers in homes for the first time in months. Travel between UK nations will be allowed but further details on the easing of restrictions is not expected until next week after the Scottish Parliament elections.

But it is understood that options have been brought before Scottish Government ministers ready to be signed off. Travel industry figures have warned of further impact on the sector if Scotland does not join in a cross-UK approach to international travel, with jobs at stake.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We attended the fourth meeting of the group today and although there was still no confirmation, we understand options have been put forward to ministers for final sign off after the election.

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“We reiterate the need for a unified four-nation approach and are clear that proactive action rather than further delay is required, or Scotland will lag behind the rest of the UK and Europe and suffer significant job losses across the country as a result.”

Professor Jason Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director, previously said that holidays abroad this year would be challenging but that officials were working on a “digital solution” for how to prove that individuals had been tested or vaccinated.