Today saw the publication of the report by the Committee on Climate Change on Scotland’s progress towards its ambitious carbon reduction targets. We’re pleased to note that on the whole progress has been good, although technically the cold winter of 2010 means we’re not on track overall. However, when it comes to transport the following paragraph stands out (page 33):
“Currently only 1% of journeys are made by bicycle, well below the 10% target. The Scottish Government has confirmed funding of £10.4 million in financial year 2013-14 for cycling infrastructure and promotion but funding beyond that is currently uncertain. The Committee is sceptical this target will be achieved, but endorses the current support for cycling infrastructure.” (page 33 of the report)
Let’s set aside for now the whole question of whether the figure of 10% of journeys by bike is a ‘target’ or a ‘vision’ – if we’re to achieve our climate targets (and those really ARE targets), then increases in cycling, along with everything else, have to play a part. And if those figures are to be achieved, then we need a step change in provision for cycling, to make it accessible not just to the tiny minority of people who ride now. We join with the CCC in endorsing the support for cycling infrastructure but we know it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.
Fortunately the Scottish Government doesn’t have to look far to find an example of the sort of vision needed to bring about the increase in cycling needed. It doesn’t even have to cross the North Sea. Instead it has to look at this vision for cycling produced by the Mayor of London. Or look to the Welsh Assembly’s ground breaking Active Travel Bill. Or it could just sign up to the eight points in our manifesto – including proper funding for cycling – and see Scotland start to really flourish as a cycling nation instead of falling ever further behind not just the Netherlands and Denmark, Sweden and Germany – but England and Wales as well.