Local Green MSP Ross Greer has expressed his disappointment after the Scottish Government revealed that East Dunbartonshire Council was the only local authority on the Scottish mainland not to request or receive any of a £30 million walking and cycling fund set up in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
The Scottish Government announced on Friday (17th July) that the entirety of the £30 million “Spaces for People” fund, introduced following suggestions by Green MSPs, has now been allocated and no more applications would be accepted. This leaves East Dunbartonshire as the only mainland council not to make use of the opportunity to improve streets and other public spaces for walking and cycling whilst socially distancing.
Greer, Scottish Greens MSP for the West of Scotland, commented:
“It’s incredibly disappointing that the council delayed making any decisions on this fund until it was too late. I know they weren’t short of suggestions, given the Greens compiled and submitted a list of potential projects sent to us by local residents. East Dunbartonshire Council need to raise their game and make active travel a real priority. More people than ever have been walking and cycling in recent months but in too many of our communities it is impossible to do this with enough space for social distancing and in some cases it is downright dangerous due to high levels of traffic and little to no protection for pedestrians.
“The last few months have been extremely tough, even tragic, for many of us but it would be frankly disastrous if we returned now to an old normal which regularly saw dangerous levels of air pollution at Bearsden Cross for example, or children unable to safely cycle to school. The Scottish Greens will push for more money from government for these projects. I can only hope that next time East Dunbartonshire Council won’t run down the clock until its too late.”