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Transform joins call for fairer active travel funding

Published 24 February 2016 by Jamie Wylie

Transform Scotland has joined fellow sustainable transport organisations in voicing concerns over transport funding in the recent Scottish Government budget.

The recent budget proposals  would see funding for road developments increased to £820 million, compared with only £41 million for walking and cycling. The funding gap between active travel and other modes of transport presents a further challenge to meeting European air quality targets, as well as making the Scottish Government’s commitment to have 10% of journeys taken by bike by 2020 increasingly unlikely.

Transform Scotland has joined other organisations, including Friends of the Earth Scotland, Spokes, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and Pedal on Parliament in a call to divert 1% of the funding for road developments to active travel. This additional £8 million would have massive benefits for active travel, and would be sufficient to maintain and enhance the fragile momentum of cycle and pedestrian schemes across Scotland.

Emilia Hanna, Air Pollution Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, commented:

“The Government has got its spending plans all wrong by pouring millions into roads which will create more traffic congestion, more air pollution, and more climate emissions. If it transfers just 1% of the cash it plans to spend on polluting roads into active travel, this will support councils to get lots more people walking and cycling across Scotland.”

The proposed funding boost for active travel has been welcomed by those outside the transport sector.

Professor Chris Oliver, Honorary Professor of Physical Activity for Health at
the University of Edinburgh,  commented:

Transferring more money into active travel will not only benefit cycling and walking levels but will have a considerable amplified effect on long term Scottish health as well”.

In response to the budget decision, Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign group, have issued their own budget proposal outlining how fairer funding for active travel could be achieved. To read the budget proposal and more, please see here.

 

What you can do

Friends of the Earth Scotland have established an e-petition to encourage the Scottish Government to increase the funding for active travel in the upcoming budget.

To have your say and sign the petition, please follow this link.

Following the budget decision, you can write to your local MSP to encourage fairer funding for active travel. Given the upcoming Holyrood elections, calls for increased active travel funding are very timely.