Stop Climate Chaos Scotland are asking everyone to stir up a social media storm on Thursday, Gail Wilson, the SCC Coordinator, explains why – and how you can help:
“What do we want? We want to See Double! When do we want it? Now!” These were the cries that rang out when a large crowd gathered together in October last year outside the Scottish Government’s offices in Edinburgh.
It was encouraging to see so many people coming together to show the Government that low carbon transport must be prioritised. And there were plenty of PoP folk there to help support that call.
POP, Stop Climate Chaos and many others are all calling for 10% of the total transport budget to be spent on active travel – both cycling and walking together
We collectively acknowledge that this won’t happen overnight. The budget for this ‘active travel’ obviously won’t be increased from £20m to £200m from one year to the next. But a year-on-year increase is required, until levels of cycling and walking are on a more sustainable path, and Scotland is meeting, hopefully even exceeding, its climate change commitments.
The Scottish Government has an ambition for 10% of all journeys in Scotland to be made by bike by 2020. Currently just 1.6% of journeys are made by bike, so we have a huge way to go (no pun intended!). There can be no doubt that if that is to happen in the next six years, significantly more and sustained levels of investment will be required.
As a perfectly-timed illustration to that point, Scotland on Sunday reported at the weekend that the number of Scots using public transport or active travel to get to work has decreased. This is hardly surprising given the current focus of public funds spent on transport.
It is within John Swinney’s power to double the budget for cycling and walking next year to £40m and increase it each year thereafter. He has already increased next year’s active travel budget to £30m, which is a step in the right direction.
But in context, it must be said that this is simply not enough to create the nationwide active travel change that Government says it is aiming towards. Additionally, as Spokes have pointed out, that active travel budget is currently set to decrease the following year, which hardly fits with Scotland’s move to become a low carbon country.
Better physical and mental health, improved air quality and reducing our carbon footprint benefit us all, and getting more people cycling and walking can help make that happen.
Government must provide the infrastructure and support that vehicle owners need to make low carbon transport choices, where appropriate. This would set Scotland on a more credible path to becoming the much-talked-about low carbon economy the Scottish Government aspires to create.
We need more money for active travel next year: we want to see double!
We need year-on-year increasing investment in this area until 10% of the total transport budget is allocated to cycling and walking.
In the next two weeks, John Swinney will publish his Budget Bill, setting out how public funds will be spent next year. There is a last window of opportunity to positively influence that decision.
So please join us for a social media storm on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr this Thursday (9th January).
You don’t have to wait until then, you can get involved right now via our Thunderclap action. Take action now>>