Thu 23 May, 2013

Today just before First Minister’s Questions I got the chance to ask the Transport Minister about the poor level of funding the Scottish Government allocates to active travel. You can read the transcript here, or simply read on…

There’s also a link at the end of this blog post to the video of my speech at last weekend’s Pedal on Parliament.

10. Alison Johnstone (Lothian) (Green): To ask the Scottish Government what proportion of its transport budget is spent on infrastructure to increase walking and cycling rates. (S4O-02164)

The Minister for Transport and Veterans (Keith Brown): In the current financial year, the proportion of the transport budget that is spent on cycling and walking infrastructure will be 0.7 per cent. In addition, as part of our trunk roads programme, upgrading of cycling and walking facilities is included in each contract.The transport budget is not the only contributor to infrastructure. As part of the local government settlement, £5.6 million will be allocated to local authorities for cycling, walking and safer streets projects. Funding is also available from the climate challenge fund for community cycling projects.

The Presiding Officer: Please be brief, Ms Johnstone.

Alison Johnstone: The 4,000 or so people who pedalled on Parliament on Sunday to call for increased investment in cycling were disappointed that the minister was unable to attend. Can he reassure those people, and all those who want cycling to be safe for all from eight to 80 years, that his Government is committed to increasing investment to the levels that will enable it to deliver its own commitment to 10 per cent of all journeys being made by bike by 2020?

The Presiding Officer: Please be brief, minister.

Keith Brown: We will shortly produce the cycling action plan for Scotland, which I know the member has an interest in. That will contain our plans—not the definitive last word on our plans—to ensure that we achieve those targets and to ensure that we try to increase the number of people cycling not just for recreation, which there has been a real increase in, but for commuting to work and for other purposes. We are committed to those things and I am pleased that my colleague Paul Wheelhouse was able to be there on Sunday to meet the demonstrators.

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