In the just announced Programme for Government (PFG), the Scottish Government has doubled investment in active and sustainable travel to £15 per capita, from £39 million to £80 million in total, from 2018 on. Spokes magazine made the comparison with the rest of the UK above. Though leading European cities invest as much as £20 per capita for cycling alone, this remains a big step or cycle forward.
The extra money will go for projects such as safe cycle lanes. To my knowledge, Tory South Ayrshire Council has been the only one so far to use central funds to build a safe lane then rip it up again using my council tax after protests by motorists. It will be interesting to see what they think they should use this extra money for – just paint the council vans green? That’s the Bears Way in Bearsden, above. Shouldn’t that name have been reserved for the one in Govan?
Here is a trimmed-down version of what Spokes magazine had to say about the PFG:
‘The PFG includes a whole range of new measures which appear to mark a genuine shift towards a greater understanding of and commitment to cycling and walking:
- We hope this retains the ‘Cycling Walking Safer Streets’ (CWSS) element which aims to ensure that every council does at least some work on active travel.
- We’d like to see an incentive included to encourage and give extra support to councils (like Edinburgh) that also invest some of their own capital, or who raise additional cash from other sources.
- We also hope that the bulk of the cash will go to high quality infrastructure rather than too much on ‘hearts and minds’ projects which cannot be fully effective until the infrastructure to make people feel safe is there.
- Finally, it would be nice if the budget document is clearer than in the past, rather than having cycling cash mixed in and unspecified within categories such as “future transport” and “sustainable transport.”
- An Active Nation Commissioner is promised, “to ensure delivery of world-class active travel infrastructure across Scotland.”
- Electric bicycles will receive special promotion “to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from active travel.”
- A Transport Bill will tackle “obstructive and inconsiderate parking” – which we assume includes measures on pavement-parking and double-parking.
- A bottle deposit scheme is planned – whilst plastic pollution is rightly hitting the headlines this should also help ‘cut’ broken glass on paths and roads
- Low Emission Zones (LEZs) – in a major change, the government will now support LEZs by 2020 in Scotland’s 4 largest cities rather than just the one pilot previously expected.
- Bike/Rail – Following major Spokes campaigns, particularly over bike capacity on rural tourist lines, the PFG promises “dedicated carriages for cycles and outdoor sports equipment on rural routes in the north and west.”
If you want to read the fuller more hesitant elements in the Spokes article, the link is below: