Parties to be quizzed on vision for cycling and walking ahead of Holyrood election

Parties to be quizzed on vision for cycling and walking ahead of Holyrood election

Scotland’s Cycling and Sustainable Travel Hustings, organised by Cycling UK and Pedal on Parliament, will give the public the chance to question political parties about their plans to make Scotland a cycling and walking nation
  • Virtual event on Tuesday 20 April, to be chaired by Glasgow Times chief reporter Catriona Stewart
  • Spokespersons from five main parties represented in recent Parliament attending
  • Registration now open to the public

Scotland’s main political parties are being invited to share their vision for active travel at an online hustings organised by Cycling UK and Pedal on Parliament, ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May.

The event, chaired by Glasgow Times chief reporter Catriona Stewart, will allow members of the public to ask the five main parties represented in the recent Parliament about their plans to promote and facilitate cycling, walking and sustainable transport.

Representatives from the Scottish National Party, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Greens and Scottish Liberal Democrats will participate.

Charity Cycling UK and grassroots campaign group Pedal on Parliament both recently published election manifestos, laying out their respective visions for a Scotland where people feel safer cycling, wheeling and walking; dangerous emissions are reduced and the air is cleaner; and more of the population chooses active travel for essential journeys to school and work.

To make cycling enjoyable, safe and commonplace the next Scottish Government must invest more money in cycling, create safe space for people to cycle, walk and wheel, and enable people who live in rural communities to cycle too

Jim Densham, Cycling UK campaigns and policy manager for Scotland

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said: “Everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of cycling, but in Scotland right now it’s not a level playing field.

“To make cycling enjoyable, safe and commonplace the next Scottish Government must invest more money in cycling, create safe space for people to cycle, walk and wheel, and enable people who live in rural communities to cycle too.

“The hustings are a key opportunity for people to quiz party spokespersons about their manifesto promises on transport. It’s a chance to tell the politicians that cycling, active travel and public transport matters, now and in a future Scotland.”

Sally Hinchcliffe, from Pedal on Parliament, commented: "There's now no doubt we're facing a climate emergency and we need to start making changes now to cut emissions – particularly in transport, where emissions haven't budged.

“We want to hear from all the parties what immediate steps they will take to enable people to walk, wheel and cycle for the sake of the planet as well as their health. We're asking for sustained and substantial investment – starting at 10% of the transport budget – in active travel infrastructure that everyone can use, and slower speeds where people live, work and play.

“We can no longer afford to fiddle about on the margins with a few exemplar schemes, we need to start rolling out a comprehensive network of routes across the whole of Scotland, starting now.”

The event will be streamed via GoToWebinar, from 7pm to 8.30pm on Tuesday 20 April. Registration in advance is required: find out full details and how to register.

Candidates currently confirmed to attend

Michael Matheson, Scottish National Party

Michael has been the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity since June 2018. During that time he has more than doubled the budget for active travel and overseen record investment by the SNP government in sustainable public transport. A keen mountain biker and e-bike fan, he is committed to behavioural change projects that will encourage people to continue to walk, wheel and cycle as much as possible post-pandemic.

Graham Simpson, Scottish Conservatives

Graham has been a Conservative MSP for Central Scotland since 2016 and was a councillor in South Lanarkshire from 2007-2017. He leads for the party on transport and infrastructure. Graham is a keen cyclist and volunteers for LanActive which is a group of like-minded enthusiasts in Lanarkshire.

Alex Rowley, Scottish Labour

Alex is the Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity and has been a former leader of Fife Council and an MSP since 2014. Born in Dunfermline and raised in Kelty, Alex was educated at St Columba's High School in Dunfermline, studied for an MA Honours in sociology and politics at Newbattle Abbey College and the University of Edinburgh and later for an MSc in community education at Edinburgh. Alex has three grown-up children and four grandchildren, and in his spare time enjoys gardening.

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Greens

Mark was re-elected in May 2016, having served as an MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife between 2003 and 2007. In the last session of parliament he was a member of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee, and introduced a member’s bill to make 20mph the default urban speed limit. He was formerly a Councillor in Stirling and lives near Doune. Outside of politics Mark has managed community development projects, worked in the renewables sector and for conservation bodies in Scotland and enjoys most types of cycling with his family.

Carole Ford, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Carole is a former secondary headteacher and maths textbook writer.  She has been involved in the professional regulation of teachers, solicitors and accountants, and currently works as an associate tutor for the University of Strathclyde.  Carole is the Scottish Liberal Democrat national policy convener, the candidate for Glasgow Southside and the lead list candidate for the Glasgow Region.

ENDS

Contact information 

For more information, please contact the Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. Instead please call 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org.

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often: www.cyclinguk.org
  2. Cycling UK in Scotland’s vision is for a Scotland where more people cycle for pleasure and everyday short journeys, in attractive and safe urban spaces and rural communities, benefiting their health and wellbeing, and reducing their carbon footprints – being part of efforts to contribute to a green economic recovery, meet our climate targets, reduce inequalities, cut road congestion, improve Scotland’s air quality and boost the nation’s health.
  3. Pedal on Parliament is a grassroots volunteer-led campaign pushing for better, safer and more inclusive cycling conditions for everyone of all ages and abilities in Scotland. We run an annual nationwide weekend of action aimed at policy makers, asking for better investment, design and policy for sustainable transport.
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