Active travel investment boosted to record levels in Scottish Budget
The Scottish Government’s budget for 2022/23 was published today (Thursday, 9 December) and includes a record £150m for active travel.
Today’s budget boost means there will be an extra £34.5m on top of the £115.5m for cycling, walking and wheeling allocated in the 2021/22 budget in Scotland.
Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, announced the new amount in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday and described the budget as a "transitional budget" that will "help tackle the climate emergency".
This budget gives an indication to councils that they must now step up and develop ambitious projects to create the high quality modern cycling infrastructure that Scotland so desperately needs
Jim Densham, Cycling UK's campaigns and policy manager for Scotland
This is the third funding increase in successive years and means the Scottish Government will be spending approximately 4.4% of the transport budget on active travel, up from 3.5% in the previous budget.
Today’s announcement follows the Scottish Government’s agreement with the Scottish Greens and the subsequent Programme for Government, which committed the Government to 'spend at least £230m, or 10% of the total transport budget, on active travel by 2024-25' – just over two years’ time.
Cycling UK wrote to the Cabinet Secretary earlier in the autumn to recommend that the Government used today’s budget announcement to increase active travel funding by £70m, to bring overall spending to £185.5m in 2022/23 and set a steady trajectory in increased spending towards the pledged £320m in 2024/25.
In response to today’s announcement, Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland said:
"We are pleased to see the Scottish Government significantly boost active travel funding to another record amount for Scotland.
"Ahead of today’s announcement we called for an increase of at least £70m in this budget, as this would steadily ramp up spending towards the promised £320m in two years’ time.
"Nonetheless, the increased funding for active travel in this budget does give an indication to councils that they must now step up and develop ambitious projects to create the high quality modern cycling infrastructure that Scotland so desperately needs."
On the need for action, he added:
“During COP26 in Glasgow, thousands of people came together to demand that politicians tackle climate change and call for cycling to be part of the solution.
“Today the Scottish Government made even more money available to help people to ride a bike and reduce their carbon footprint.
“It’s time for councils to urgently use this cash to create cycle lanes, safe routes to schools and other changes to our roads which make our neighbourhoods safe for people to cycle, walk or wheel instead of taking the car.”