Sustrans has slammed yesterday’s Scottish budget for appearing to scupper progress made on increasing walking and cycling levels in the nation.
The budget announcement revealed that £4 million would be placed into Transport Scotland’s ‘Sustainable and Active Travel’ fund. However, three quarters of that total appears to be allocated for electric cars and low carbon vehicles, according to the sustainable transport charity.
Similarly, changes to funding for cycling infrastructure in England, means cash will have to be sourced from a sustainable transport pot, shared with other forms of travel.
“The £4m increase to sustainable transport is bad news disguised as good news,” criticised John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland.
“Investment in walking and cycling is proving value for money and cost effective. Investment in electric cars will not make the same return. People sitting in a car, however it is powered, for short journeys are not improving their health or the quality of life of neighbourhoods. Increased funding for the Transport Division of Transport Scotland, who deliver on sustainable transport, is welcome but taking the emphasis away from walking and cycling is not and totally undermines the Government’s delivery of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS). Along with the reduction in capital for local authorities, this could set Scotland back years in both the delivery of CAPS and the good progress that has been made in recent years to increase active travel.”