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Huge boost to active travel in Scotland as SNP and Greens pledge to spend nearly £60 per person per year

Massive hike in budget for walking and cycling revealed in shared policy document published today

Spend  on active travel initiatives in Scotland is set to more than treble to nearly £60 per person per year – an unprecedented sum for anywhere in the United Kingdom – within the next two years following the publication today of the draft shared policy programme by the SNP and the Green Party.

The SNP won 64 of the 129 seats contested in May’s elections to the Scottish Parliament, one short of an overall majority, while the Green Party won eight seats.

While today’s agreement does not constitute a formal coalition, the two parties have outlined their common policy goals and promoting – and more importantly, funding – walking and cycling, as well as public transport, is a central part of it.

The parties have agreed to “increase the proportion of Transport Scotland’s budget spent on Active Travel initiatives so that by 2024-25 at least £320 million or 10 per cent of the total transport budget will be allocated to active travel.”

That's around a threefold increase on the 3.5 per cent of the transport budget currently allocated to active travel.

The agreement also provides that in order to promote active travel:

Local authorities will be encouraged to deliver more Safe to School initiatives, with the aim of ensuring every child who lives within two miles of school is able to walk or wheel safely.

All appropriate roads in built up areas will have a safer speed limit of 20 mph by 2025. A task group will be formed to plan the most effective route for implementation.

Transport Scotland will work with Police Scotland to develop a one year pilot project to develop an online reporting system enabling anyone to upload camera footage of dangerous driving.

Our support for the purchase of new buses will be, where appropriate, conditional on space being available for bike transport in addition to wheelchair and buggy space.

Transport Scotland will work with local and regional transport authorities on the establishment of an active freeway network for Scotland comprising local networks within towns and cities and connecting settlements and major destinations with high quality, safe routes.

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said: “This agreement is fantastic news for cycling in Scotland and shows that this government and the Greens are serious about working together to create a Scotland where cycling, walking and wheeling are easy and attractive options.

“The commitment to spend 10% of the overall travel budget on active travel was a key part of the Cycling UK Manifesto for Cycling during this year’s Scottish election and is something that cycling campaigners have called for over many years.

“This investment in active travel is an absolutely vital step in tackling the climate crisis and creating a healthier, happier, more attractive and low-carbon Scotland.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Safety | 2 years ago
1 like

Call me cynical but I would have felt more reassured this was a meaningful change if the statement said something about the resources and intention required to act upon uploaded footage of dangerous driving rather than simply allow it be uploaded. As this is an easy box to tick and claim success in this day and age. A 15 year old could have it done by tea time.

TheBillder replied to Safety | 2 years ago

The tricky bit is getting the legal system to work with the portal. That is likely to need parliament, not just the quangos to work together.

a_to_the_j | 2 years ago

Interesting they are cutting a huge amount of rail services at the same time as ScotGov own ScotRail.... 

So, This will turn out to be empty promises - a bit like their pledge on cycling many years ago to make 10% of all trips by cycle, then it was a promise, then it was a goal, and then it was an ambition. 

Most of this money will be fritted away on meetings and plans and more trips to Copenhagen, and easy tick box options, like community buses and fancy metal bike parking places tucked away in a corner of a city car park.

trying to cycle in scotland as a daily activity or work commute is littered with dangerous A roads full of HGVs and drivers who just dont care and with cycle paths.

the only thing that might prove useful is the policing, but thats a PILOT

and yes, i lived in scotland in many areas for many years and (tried) to commute as often as possible.



Rich_cb | 2 years ago

I'm always sceptical of any political promise but this is a laudable goal and I hope they achieve it.

HarrogateSpa | 2 years ago

Great news for Scotland.

This might not generate as many comments as the latest storm in a teacup over what the Daily Mail said (or whatever), but it's much more important.

eburtthebike | 2 years ago

This is fantastic news, and will make it harder for the other nations of the UK not to up their game in response.  A demonstration of what proper democratic proportional representation can do that our absurd, ancient and discredited first past the post election system signally fails to do.

Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

Finally Scotland's rozzers will have a video uploading service. 

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