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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 has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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