The Scottish Government should divert one per cent of motorway spending into active travel, say environmental coalition

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 22 February 2016 in News

Campaign organisations came together ahead of the Scottish Government budget, which contains plans to spend £820m on building roads, against £41m for walking and cycling paths

The Scottish Government should take one per cent of the money it plans to spend on trunk roads and motorways and put it into active travel instead, according to a coalition of environmental and transport groups.

Campaign organisations came together to make the call ahead of the Scottish Government budget, which contains plans to spend £820m on building trunk roads and motorways, against £41m for improving walking and cycling paths.

Although transport emissions have fallen since 2006, the drop has been slower than other sources in Scotland, meaning the proportion of emissions coming from transport has risen from 20.6 per cent to 24.4 per cent.


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Emilia Hanna, air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “The Government has got its spending plans all wrong by pouring millions into roads which will create more traffic congestion, more air pollution, and more climate emissions. If it transfers just one per cent of the cash it plans to spend on new polluting roads into active travel, this will support councils to get lots more people walking and cycling across Scotland.”

Official figures show the proportion of people walking to work fell from 13.8 per cent in 2006 to 12.9 per cent in 2014.

Bus use also fell, with the proportion using buses as their usual mode of transport dropping from 11.8 per cent to 10.2 per cent.

In contrast, car use increased, rising from 66.8 per cent in 2006 to 67.7 per cent in 2014.

Professor Chris Oliver, honorary professor of physical activity for health at the University of Edinburgh said: “There is far too much money in virtual silos in Scottish Government. It's difficult to sensibly move money around. Transferring more money into active travel will not only benefit cycling and walking levels but will have a considerable amplified effect on long term Scottish health as well”.

Spokes, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Pedal on Parliament, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Ramblers Scotland and Transform Scotland united to make the demand.

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