Cycling UK writes open letter to SNP leadership candidates

The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh
Cycling UK has joined with Scottish campaign group Pedal on Parliament to ask the three SNP leadership candidates not to backpedal on the government’s current positive cycling commitments.

Cycling UK has written to all three candidates standing to be leader of the SNP and likely to be Scotland’s next First Minister.  

The identical letters to Kate Forbes MSP, Ash Regan MSP and Humza Yousaf MSP were written with and jointly signed by cycle campaign group Pedal on Parliament.   

Together we are asking each candidate to outline what they would do for active travel – wheeling, walking and cycling – if they became First Minister.

Specifically, the letter asks where they stand on the active travel provisions of the Bute House Agreement – the deal done with the Scottish Greens following the election in 2021.

The Bute House Agreement and the subsequent Programme for Government outlined a significant uplift in policy commitments for active travel.

This included the hugely important commitment to allocate 10% of Scotland’s transport budget, or at least £320m, to active travel by 2024/25.

The 10% figure was one that both Cycling UK and Pedal on Parliament had asked every party to commit to ahead of the 2021 Scottish elections.

Ministers have said they want to create the conditions needed in Scotland to enable everyone to walk, wheel or cycle for everyday journeys.

The ballot for SNP members to vote on their choice of leader opens on 13 March 2023 and will close at noon on 27 March 2023. The result will be declared that day.

Jim Densham, campaigns and policy manager for Cycling UK in Scotland said:

"The resignation of Nicola Sturgeon has put Scottish politics into turmoil and uncertainty at a point when stability and clear leadership is needed on decarbonising our transport systems for the future.

"With our partners Cycling UK campaigned hard for the Scottish Government to adopt stronger policies for cycling, and we all want to ensure Scotland’s new leader doesn’t water down commitments on active travel.

"We want the candidates to stand by the policies for active travel outlined in the Bute House Agreement and prioritise them when they become First Minister.

"All three of the candidates need to understand investment in cycling helps to tackle the climate emergency, cost of living crisis, and in addition provides benefits for people’s health and wellbeing.

"We are keen to hear the response from each candidate as soon as possible so that SNP members voting in the ballot can see who will best support cycling and sustainable travel in the future."