Strong support for record spending on active travel in Scotland

Strong support for record spending on active travel in Scotland

47% of people support allocating at least 10% of the Scottish transport budget to cycling and walking, while just 20% oppose it, a YouGov poll has found
  • Manifesto pledges by Scottish Greens, Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour promise at least that level of funding, while Scottish Lib Dems commit 7% and SNP 5.5%
  • Commitment to active-travel spending is a key part of Cycling UK’s Scottish election manifesto
  • Cycling charity has launched an action allowing people to write to their election candidates asking them to pledge their support for its aims

Scottish voters show strong support for the next Scottish Government to commit at least 10% of its transport budget to active travel. This would represent record spending on cycling and walking and a major increase on the 3.5% of the 2021 transport budget allocation.

In a poll carried out this month by YouGov on behalf of Cycling UK, 1,204 people were asked whether they would support or oppose a pledge by the Scottish Government to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on active travel. Overall, 47% said they would support this commitment, while 20% would oppose it. Of the remainder, 25% said they would neither support nor oppose such a move, and 9% didn’t know.

Support was strongest among those aged 16 to 24, with more than eight times as many (68%) in favour of the spending pledge as opposing it (8%). Levels of support outweighed opposition in all age groups: of those aged 65+, 40% were in favour while 26% were against.

There is clearly strong support across Scotland for the next Scottish Government to deliver on our target to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on cycling and walking

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said the results of the poll send a clear message to politicians that increased spending on active travel is a vote-winner. “There is clearly strong support across Scotland for the next Scottish Government to deliver on our target to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on cycling and walking.

“The results show that support outweighs opposition regardless of age, social class or location in Scotland.”

Analysis by Cycling UK shows the Scottish National Party have made the lowest manifesto commitment to active travel, promising that by the end of the next Parliament they will spend approximately 5.5% of the overall transport budget. The Scottish Green Party has made the highest pledge, at an immediate 10% of the transport budget rising to 20% by the end of the next Parliament.

Both the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour have committed to spend 10% of the transport budget on active travel, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats has pledged approximately 7%.

Securing a pledge to commit at least 10% of transport spending to active travel is one of 11 asks for the next Scottish Government set out by Cycling UK in its manifesto for cycling, which was published in February ahead of the Holyrood election on 6 May.

Mr Densham said:

“During the pandemic, quieter roads and safe space to cycle have encouraged many more people to ride bikes to get around and for leisure. We’ve seen more people out walking and wheeling too. People will choose to get around actively if it feels safe and enjoyable to do so.

“The message from the public is clear: the next Scottish Government must urgently seize the opportunity to maintain this momentum for the good of Scotland’s people and environment.”

In addition to publishing the election manifesto, Cycling UK has created an online action, where the public can find out which of their MSP candidates have made the pledge to support its aims, and write to those who haven’t.

 

Find out if your MSP candidates have pledged support

Contact information 

For more information, please contact the national 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. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) please call Sam Waller on 07775 595998 or email sam.waller@cyclinguk.org. Out of hours, call 07786 320 713.

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’s action which allows voters to contact their MSP candidates is available at: https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/ask-your-msp-candidates-support-cycling-scotland
  3. Cycling UK has asked MSP candidates to pledge to support three asks to make sure cycling is for everyone in Scotland:
    • Increasing investment in active travel (cycling, walking and wheeling) to at least 10% of the transport budget.
    • Creating an active travel network for Scotland based on a national plan, to ensure safe cycling and walking routes are accessible to all, and connect people with the places they need to go.
    • Enabling people in rural communities to cycle as an alternative to using the car for everyday journeys.
  4. The full Cycling UK election manifesto can be downloaded at: https://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/files/document/2021/04/cycling_uk_scotland_may_elections_final_updated.pdf.
  5. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,204 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 20th April 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 16+).
  6. Responses to the YouGov poll question “To what extent would you support or oppose the Scottish Government pledging to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on active travel (cycling and walking)?” are broken down by age group below:

 

 

Age

 

Total

16-24

25-49

50-64

65+

Weighted sample

1204

157

476

300

272

Unweighted sample

1204

138

467

298

301

 

%

%

%

%

%

Strongly support

16

27

16

16

11

Somewhat support

31

41

31

26

29

TOTAL SUPPORT

47

68

47

42

40

Neither support nor oppose

25

14

24

28

28

Somewhat oppose

12

6

8

15

18

Strongly oppose

8

2

7

13

8

TOTAL OPPOSE

20

8

15

28

26

Don’t know

9

9

15

2

6

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