More money is coming the way of local councils to invest in schemes to improve travel for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users. The increased funding was announced by Minister for Active Travel in the Scottish Government, Patrick Harvie.
The Cycling Walking and Safer Routes budget which goes directly to local authorities is increased from nearly £24 million to £35 million for 2022/23.
There will also be a new £1.5 million walking fund, managed by Paths for All and named in memory of Ian Findlay – the inspiring Paths for All Chief Officer and advocate for active travel who sadly passed away last year.
Kevin Lafferty Paths for All’s Chief Executive Officer said:
“We greatly welcome this additional investment in active travel in Scotland.
“The new Ian Findlay Path Fund will support community path projects right across the country and help get more people walking by removing barriers.
“The fund will play an important role in improving health and wellbeing and it is a fitting tribute to Ian whose vision was to make Scotland a walking nation where everyone has the opportunity to be active every day.”
For cyclists the funding for the National Cycle Network is to be doubled to over £10 million for 2022/23. There will be more free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them, benefitting up to 3000 children.
To improve road safety for all users £300,000 is allocated to develop a National Dashcam Safety Portal with Police Scotland – making it easier to report crimes that put other road users in danger.
As part of the funding package Living Streets Scotland, part of the UK charity for everyday walking will receive £555k in 2022/23.
The funding will be used in over 450 schools to run its walk to school programme, which successfully increases walking rates and decreases congestion levels. It will also allow work to continue on ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’, to ensure local facilities are within a safe and pleasant walking distance.
Commenting on the funding Stuart Hay, Director Living Streets Scotland said:
“Today is an important milestone in helping to turn Scotland into a more active, healthy and sustainable nation. We are pleased steps are being made to give walking, wheeling and cycling a reasonable share of transport budgets.
“We are thrilled to receive additional support to grow our work in Scotland, including plans to reach over 450 primary schools, high schools and nurseries. These projects will aim to boost walking to school and reduce car journeys by 10%.
“With extra resources we hope to work in every Scottish local authority area on programmes such WOW – our walk to school challenge and Walk to School Week. These projects will contribute towards Scotland’s ambitious national targets to reduce road traffic by 20%. Nowhere is this needed more than outside schools.
“We look forward to working with other partners including Cycling Scotland, Sustrans Scotland and Paths for all to address the very real challenges of creating good walking environments at a local level.”
Making the announcement Patrick Harvie said:
“I am delighted that through the Co-operation Agreement the Scottish Government is investing a record sum of £150 million for active travel in 2022/23 and have committed to investing at least £320 million or 10% of the transport budget for active travel by 2024/25.”
“What matters now is for that record investment to deliver on the ground, with exciting new ideas for footpaths and cycleways, increased safety, provision of bikes where cost is a barrier and making sure that more people feel confident to choose to walk, wheel or cycle – and so much more.
“I look forward to seeing that new investment translated into projects, but I am especially pleased that the Scottish Government will fund a new programme in memory of Ian Findlay, the Chief Officer of Paths for All who sadly died last year. The new fund, delivered through Paths For All will provide over £1.5 million to remove barriers on the existing path network. It will ensure our paths are more resilient to climate change and increased use, building on Ian’s proud legacy and contributions to everyday walking across Scotland.
“Through the wide ranging actions outlined today, we’ll continue to help build an active nation – essential to our health and to our green recovery – where more people can walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys than ever before.”