Tue 31 Oct, 2017

Our vision is a carbon-free transport sector where walking and cycling are prioritised, where we have a national minimum standard for provision of active travel infrastructure, and where we have protected cycle lanes on roads in built up areas. John Finnie MSP

Green MSPs today (31 Oct) used a Holyrood debate to step up demands for Scottish Ministers to invest at least ten per cent of the transport budget in walking and cycling, warning that the government is set to fail its own active travel target.

In 2012, Green MSP Alison Johnstone led Holyrood's first debate on cycling, with the parliament agreeing her motion which called on the Scottish Government to place active travel at the heart of the planning system.

For today's debate Scottish Ministers put forward a motion welcoming the £80million they plan to invest in walking in cycling in 2018-19 but this will still only represent around three/four per cent of the total transport budget, with the bulk of funding going towards motorways and trunk roads.

John Finnie MSP, Transport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

"We all agree that investing in walking and cycling brings great benefits, to public health, people's pockets, local economies and the environment. But we cannot expect to enjoy these benefits with half-measures.

"We need better infrastructure, not marketing campaigns. And we need to know what remit and powers the new Active Nation Commissioner will have, so we can see whether this issue is being taken seriously.

"Scottish Greens recently refreshed our party policy on active travel following consultation with experts and campaign groups. Our vision is a carbon-free transport sector where walking and cycling are prioritised, where we have a national minimum standard for provision of active travel infrastructure, and where we have protected cycle lanes on roads in built up areas."

Alison Johnstone MSP, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

"Investing in walking and cycling has to be at the core of the preventative health agenda. Other countries like Denmark and the Netherlands made a determined shift years ago, kept up the investment and are now reaping the rewards with healthier, happier populations.

"The latest Household Survey shows that only 1.2 per cent of journeys in Scotland are taken by bike, a figure that has hardly moved since I led Holyrood's first cycling debate in 2012. If the Scottish Government is serious about its own target of ten per cent by 2020, it should be much bolder in its commitments."

 

Green amendment for today's debate

John Finnie's blog on the Scottish Greens' updated active travel policy

Motion for cycling debate led by Alison Johnstone in March 2012

Get involved

More like this

Our updated Active Travel policy shows our commitment to making communities safer and healthier

John Finnie MSP Fri 27 Oct, 2017

Last weekend at our autumn conference our members overwhelmingly backed an updated transport policy which aims to enable higher levels of walking and cycling - otherwise known as active travel -  in Scotland. It means we are leading the change towards tackling the rising costs to the NHS of diseases caused by air pollution and inactivity, while also reducing congestion and making our roads safer.

Three Green pledges for active travel

John Hardy Mon 17 Apr, 2017

We believe that rebalancing our roads and streets in favour of pedestrians and cyclists is the best way to enable people to make their everyday travel more sustainable. Our aim is to make walking and cycling an attractive and viable travel option for the majority of the population. This is important for the development of local communities while helping to improve physical and mental health, traffic congestion, the reduction of carbon emissions, and tackle air pollution.

Safer streets: MSP says 20mph limit will save hearts and lungs

Sun 5 Mar, 2017

Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell today said statistics showing the prevalence of heart and lung disease in different parts of Scotland underline the need to cut traffic pollution by reducing the urban speed limit from 30 to 20 mph.