Scottish Government have taken a positive step to increasing the countries capacity for active travel. Scotland is to double is annual funding for cycling and walking from £40 million to £80 million, a move which has been welcomed by organisations promoting active travel as well as environmental organisations.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement last Tuesday as she presented her Governments plan to Scottish Parliament. Whilst the amount still pales in comparison to the billions spent on car infrastructure it is a clear commitment which is to be seen lacking in other nations within the UK. According to Cycling UK, ” Currently funding for cycling and walking in England is projected to be £1.2bn over the next four years, or effectively, an annual £6.50 per head for everyone in England outside of London. In Wales, it is estimated that between £3 to £5 per head is spent on active travel a year, while in Northern Ireland the Department for Infrastructure has previously acknowledged that “…the funding available for cycling has been limited and spread thinly.” They have calculated that the doubling of the budget from Transport Scotland towards active travel sees an annual investment of £13.50 per head.
From a Bike Town perspective the figures bring a great deal of hope to getting more residents in Cambuslang & Rutherglen feeling good by choosing cycling. This money will give community cycling projects all across the country just like us opportunities to build upon the progress already made in making cycling more accessible. Through a range of behaviour changing initiatives and partnership working to improve the cycling infrastructure in South Lanarkshire, the funding will massively help in encouraging active travel use.