Better infrastructure demanded by groups promoting walking and cycling
An alliance of Scotland’s national walking and cycling charities has launched a strategy to radically improve Scotland’s public health by getting Scots more active.
The document, Scotland on the move, calls for a range of measures including infrastructure, safety, policy, behaviour change interventions and a long-term funding commitment to increase walking and cycling in Scotland.
The alliance of groups comprises seven Scottish organisations who together champion walking, cycling and sustainable transport: CTC Scotland, Cycling Scotland, Living Streets, Paths for All, Ramblers Scotland, Sustrans Scotland, and Transform Scotland.
The organisations have put forward a number of arguments for the eyes of Scotland’s political parties as they begin work on preparing their party manifestos for the 2016 Holyrood elections.
Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, said: “Our core aim is to see increased long term investment in active travel with a call for 10% of local and national transport budgets to be allocated to walking and cycling.
Now is the right time for the parties to commit to specific policies to increase levels of walking and cycling - John Lauder
“While we recognise and welcome recent additional investment announcements by the Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, active travel investment remains at only 1-2% of the Scottish Government’s transport budget.”
The groups call for entirely segregated cycle routes in all of Scotland’s cities and the consolidation of long-distance walking and cycling routes.
Funding for creation, maintenance and promotion of a comprehensive network of walking and cycling routes in towns and cities across Scotland is also a key recommendation.
Ian Findlay, chief officer of Paths for All, added: “Realising commitments to increase and enable everyday walking amongst the Scottish population will improve people’s physical, mental and social health and decrease health inequalities – walking is physical activity which almost anyone can do for free from their front door. But too often it is taken for granted.
“Continued commitment and investment are required from all parties to ensure active choices are the first and easiest choices for people.”
The groups also set out a range of actions that political parties should use to get Scotland on the move. All of these are being piloted throughout Scotland but the groups want to see them delivered cohesively in towns, cities and rural areas.
They include reducing speed limits to 20mph in towns and cities and enabling children to travel actively through calming traffic around schools
John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland, said enabling and promoting active travel needs to be put firmly on the party manifesto agenda for 2016.
“Now is the right time for the parties to commit to specific policies to increase levels of walking and cycling, as we believe this could be the game changer not only for Scotland’s health but also for our economy and environment,” he said.