Reacting to the Budget announcement this afternoon, Emilia Hanna, air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

 

“Hundreds of people emailed the finance secretary and lobbied their MSPs calling for a change in direction on transport policy asking for 1% of the proposed £820m big roads budget to be reallocated to active travel. 

 

“The Scottish Government has condemned the public to more pollution and more climate emissions by opting to spend twenty times more money on new motorways than on walking and cycling paths. The decision comes only a day after news that over 2,500 people in Scotland die each year from air pollution, up from earlier estimates. 

 

“The Scottish Government has promised that in four years’ time 10% of all journeys will be made by bike. We are currently at under 2% of trips made by bike so the Government has a mountain to climb. 

 

“Edinburgh Council has been increasing its spending on active travel year on year and as a result cycling rates have soared. The next Scottish Government must follow suit and candidates for the May elections should support the call for 10% of future transport budgets to go to walking and cycling.”

 

 

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors:

 

1. Infographic courtesy of Pedal on Parliament. Pedal on Parliament will ride again on Saturday 23rd April 2016: http://pedalonparliament.org

 

2. The call to change spending plans was initiated by Spokes the Lothian Cycle Campaign. It was supported by the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Cycling Group, as well as by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Pedal on Parliament, Stop Climate Chaos, Ramblers Scotland, Transform Scotland, together with Professor of Physical Activity for Health Chris Oliver, and author and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch. Hundreds of people sent letters to John Swinney and to their MSPs in support of the call. For more details: http://www.spokes.org.uk/2016/02/budget-msps-briefed-on-1-of-trunk-roads-plan/

 

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland Press Release, “New Research Means 2500 Deaths a Year in Scotland are from Air Pollution” 23 February 2016, http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/RCP-Report

 

4. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:

 

* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.