By making cycling and walking the easy options we can cut air pollution and improve public health
Ahead of attending today’s Pedal on Parliament protest, the Scottish Greens are highlighting their successes in getting cycling and walking infrastructure investment up the political agenda.
Alison Johnstone, Health and Sport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Lothian, led the Scottish Parliament's first debate on cycling in 2012, set up the cross-party group on cycling and secured a cycle safety summit chaired by a government minister in light of a series of accidents and fatalities.
The Scottish Greens' Holyrood election manifesto includes a commitment to spend ten per cent of the transport budget on cycling and walking - the SNP has failed to spend even two per cent this way.
Alison, who will attend today's protest, said:
“We must see the proportion of the transport budget spent on cycling and walking rise to 10 per cent if we’re remotely serious about making Scotland a country where cycling is the norm for short journeys. By making cycling and walking the easy options we can cut air pollution and improve public health.
“Greens want to give communities control to decide which routes and road junctions should be priorities for repair and improvement, and we want 20mph speed limits rolled out in residential areas. I led Holyrood’s first debate on cycling, and parliament agreed that every child in Scotland should have the opportunity to undertake on-road cycle training. The SNP has cut funding for safe cycling and walking routes to schools, so the need for a bigger Green presence in parliament is clear if we want bold action to make cycling easy and enjoyable for all ages.”
Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie, the party’s economy spokesperson and MSP candidate for Glasgow, will also attend today’s protest. He said:
“Council budgets have been cut by the SNP in government. Under the Scottish Greens’ plans for income tax and replacing council tax we could raise additional revenue fairly to invest in local infrastructure improvements to support the many people who want to walk and cycle but are put off by congested and poorly maintained streets.
“Investing in cycle infrastructure and road maintenance is far better for local businesses and our economy than ploughing extra millions into massive new road projects. Research shows it creates far more job hours, so we should be focusing on fixing and improving what we’ve got rather than adding even further to the cost of maintaining our road network. Successive SNP and Labour-led governments have failed to act. We need a bolder Holyrood with more Green voices to get us on track.”