Tue 19 May, 2020

This public health crisis is having an enormous impact on transport, and it is vital that when Scotland starts to get moving again we don't see a huge upsurge in dangerous pollution levels and roads filled with traffic jams Mark Ruskell

The Scottish Government has failed to capitalise on the growth in cycling and walking, rejecting Scottish Green proposals to embed new temporary measures to protect pedestrians and cyclists for two years.

Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell proposed amendments to emergency laws which would have seen the reallocation of road space by councils to allow increasing numbers of people walking and cycling to keep to safe social distancing continue for two years.

MSPs rejected the proposals, but did agree that progress on Low Emission Zones should be reported on by the end of the year.

Commenting, Mark Ruskell said: "This public health crisis is having an enormous impact on transport, and it is vital that when Scotland starts to get moving again we don't see a huge upsurge in dangerous pollution levels and roads filled with traffic jams.

"My proposals would have allowed councils to embed the gains made in lockdown and encouraged more people to use active travel in their commute.

"Millions will be invested in pop-up cycle lanes, 20 mph zones and pedestrianised streets in the weeks to come, these need to bring lasting benefits rather than be ripped out after a few months.

"Cycling and walking has never been more popular, now is the time to build back better and make our streets permanently safer for everyone. The fact the SNP and Tories voted against them suggests they would rather return to the mistakes of the past.

"The postponement of Low Emission Zones has stalled progress in tackling a massive public health crisis. At least now we will see some reporting on progress, to ensure they aren't abandoned before they've even begun."

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