CYCLING FUNDING FLAT: JOHNSTONE SAYS MINISTERS RISKING LIVES
Alison Johnstone MSP, Health, Wellbeing and Sport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is urging Scottish ministers to rethink their proposed spending plans which are set to slash support for safe walking and cycling routes to schools.
Analysis by the Scottish Greens shows that the draft 2016/17 budget will cut Cycling, Walking and Safe Routes funding for Local Authorities by £2.1million, while increasing spending on Motorways and Trunk Roads by £125.5million.
The Scottish Government refuses to provide a single budget line making clear what it is spending on cycling but "Sustainable and Active Travel" will only comprise 1.6 per cent of the entire £2.2billion transport budget. Scottish Greens believe walking and cycling infrastructure should comprise nearer 10 per cent of that budget.
Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:
"Christmas will have seen a fleet of new bicycles delivered to households across Scotland but in many places we don't have the infrastructure to truly make cycling a safe and enjoyable part of everyday life. By leaving funding flat, while pumping up spending on new trunk roads and motorways, the Scottish Government is making clear that cycling and walking is not a priority despite the benefits to health and people's pockets, and despite public demand.
"We have to remember that transport is a social justice issue. Not everyone has the money to, or wants to rely on a private car to get to places and many people would prefer increased investment in cycling, walking and public transport.
"I led Holyrood's first debate on cycling, almost 4 years ago, with the parliament reaffirming the Scottish Government's target of 10 per cent of journeys by bike by 2020, yet we're still at only 1 per cent. I will continue to press the case for a transformation in funding priorities. Scotland can become a cycle-friendly nation but we need Holyrood to be bolder."
Draft budget 2016/17. Transport spending plans, page 122 onwards
Motorways and Trunk Roads to increase from £694.8m to £820.3m - this includes increase in capital
land and works from £102.1m to £285.5m.
Sustainable and Active Travel for 2016/17 is £35.9m - 1.62 per cent of the £2.2billion overall
Cycling, Walking and Safe Routes funding to fall from £8million to £5.9million.