Reacting to the Launch of Transport Scotland's “Cycling Action Plan for Scotland 2017-2020” today, Air Pollution Campaigner Emilia Hanna said:

“Traffic-derived air pollution is causing a public health crisis in Scotland, so getting more people walking and cycling is a key part of the solution. The Government’s own analysis shows that one of the main reasons why people do not walk and cycle is because they do not feel safe, so we need many more good quality walking and cycling paths that make it possible for people of all ages and abilities to choose pollution-free travel modes.

“Today only 1.2% of trips are by bike, a statistic which goes a long way to explaining why we have such a dramatic air pollution health crisis and high carbon emissions from our transport sector. Whilst we welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to its vision that 10% of trips will be made by bike by 2020, it is not at all on track to achieving this. The 10% vision will be undeliverable unless the Government reallocates some of its transport budget away from road and motorway building and towards walking and cycling paths.

“Our addiction to the car is killing us, but the Scottish Government is currently fuelling that addiction by pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into building new motorways and trunk roads, with only a tiny fraction of its transport budget left over for walking and cycling projects.

“Edinburgh Council is proof that investment in cycling works. It has allocated an increasing share of its transport budget to active travel, and as a result cycling levels have soared.”

Notes to Editors

1. Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS) is unveiled. Transport Scotland Press Release 17 Jan 2017 http://www.transport.gov.scot/news/ambitious-cycling-action-plan-scotland-caps-unveiled

2. On Sunday 15th January Friends of the Earth Scotland revealed that air pollution continues to be a public health crisis in Scotland, with a number of streets with illegal levels of pollution. There are now 38 official Pollution Zones, an increase of 5 in the last year http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/most-polluted-streets

3. The Scottish Draft Budget details the Scottish Government’s spending plans for next year and confirms that the Government plans to spend over twenty times more money on trunk roads and motorways than on walking and cycling infrastructure: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00511808.pdf

4. Spokes, The Lothian Cycle Campaign, have analysed the Draft Budget and state: Active travel investment in 17/18 is budgeted at £39m, the same as 16/17, but since total transport spending rises from £2210m to £2376m (largely due to big rises for trunk roads) the proportion going to active travel falls from 1.8% to just 1.6%. For more, visit: http://www.spokes.org.uk/2016/12/scottish-govt-draft-1718-budget-fails-2020-test/

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.