“investment in walking and cycling is declining”

Posted by chdot on June 17, 2009

delivering climate change

That’s the sad, but very understandable, conclusion of Transform Scotland after reading the Scottish Government’s new Climate Change Delivery Plan.

Press release in full –

Responding to today’s launch of its Climate Change Delivery Plan, Transform Scotland have criticised the Scottish Government’s plans as being unambitious on transport.

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

“Transport is the basket case of climate change policy. It is the second largest sector for emissions after heat, and it is the sector where things are still going in the wrong direction.

“The delivery plan does a good job of setting out the range of measures that could reduce emissions from the transport sector – including demand management, investment in active travel and Smarter Choices, and cutting speed limits. The problem is that Government action in these areas is small and stunted: investment in walking and cycling is declining, the budget for Smarter Choices is tiny, while there is little action to ensure the enforcement of current speed limits let alone reducing speed limits.

“All of this contrasts with the Government’s multi-billion road-building programme – which goes strangely unmentioned in this document. At £2,000 million, the proposed Second Forth Road Bridge on its own represents 100 years of Government investment in active travel at current levels.

“There remains a huge mismatch between Government stated aspirations towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its own spending priorities. If the Government truly wants to deliver on its climate change targets then it needs to give top priority to low-cost and swiftly deliverable investments in active travel and Smarter Choices measures, rather than relying on the vain hope that technological change – mainly outwith its control – will come to save the day.”

4 Responses to ““investment in walking and cycling is declining””

  1. The rule is:
    A road can almost always be built more quickly than any other transport option.

    The ‘track’ record on other options is poor. Maybe due to lack of practice?
    It took years to re-open the railway to Alloa (5 miles?).
    The borders railway shows no signs of work starting.
    Cycle paths seem to have no overall standard with poor surfaces that don’t drain.
    Current paths need maintenance.

    I challenge those in power to leave their cars at home and discover how expensive and slow much public transport is. Kobenhavn has zoned areas for joint use of trains and buses. We have ‘one ticket’ that costs a fortune. Edinburgh is unique in being a city with no easily available cross company travel pass.

  2. jacquiephelan said

    Colin is a very articulate critic of the big problem at hand. I might have to pass this on to OUR folks…
    all the things he mentioned are tenfold over here in USA. Our bicycle infrastructure money gets appropriated , then the thing is built, then UNDONE because motorists whinge…
    It feels like we’ll never get anywhere.
    Everyone complains bitterly about the traffic here …from their car-phone.

  3. David said

    Z Almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by
    2050 with significant progress by 2030 through wholesale
    adoption of electric cars and vans, and significant
    decarbonisation of rail by 2050

    Tonights news saw the transport minister driving a large electric car.

    The message. The problem isn’t driving but using the wrong car. This is what people want to hear. They won’t be so happy with tons of Lithium though in landfill!

    Rail transport is different. The rail line to Inverness passes loads of renewables and could be completely green.

  4. Lee said

    Whoever criticises the current government will come up against the attitude the SNP has that the definition and value of “active transport” differs significantly from our own opinions and the opinions of respected organisations such as Transform Scotland and the Scottish Parliament cross-party Transport Committee. The SNP were the only party in their manifesto to mention walking and cycling merely in passing, and their subsequent action in government has revealed exactly where they stand on this issue, i.e. as long as cabinet ministers are seen to be maintaining their own constiuencies by massively upgrading the road links to some of the most sparsely populated areas in the whole of the UK and Scotland, then that is fine – important, long-term issues, like climate change, need only the lip service required to keep the press at bay.
    Let’s face it, the Transform Scotland report will not be getting too many column inches in the national press, and what it does get will most likely be a mis-representation.

    We need the two Green MSPs in Holyrood to be prepared to make a stand on more than just a single issue so that the next budget vote really will trigger a change of government.

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