Charities call for an end to road building in Scotland
Eight walking and cycling organisations have called for an end to building new roads in Scotland and to provide more street space for people on foot and bikes.
As part of a six-point response to the new National Transport Strategy, which closes today, the organisations highlighted how a focus on walking and cycling, along with affordable and accessible public transport, is best placed to deliver Scotland’s transport priorities.
And they called for an end to government investment in the creation of new trunk roads, to help make sure that journeys on foot, bike and public transport were prioritised before cars. This, they said, will help tackle inequality, reduce carbon emissions and improve health and wellbeing across the country.
The joint call was issued by Cycling Scotland, Cycling UK, Forth Environment Link, Living Streets, Paths for All, Ramblers Scotland, Sustrans Scotland and Transform Scotland.
In addition, the organisations have asked to:
- Take space from private vehicles to make more room for walking and segregated cycling
- Deliver affordable and integrated public transport
- For developers to include active travel infrastructure in initial plans for all new housing, commercial and retail development
- Support for behaviour change programmes which encourage active and sustainable travel
- Improve access to bikes.
Sustrans deputy CEO John Lauder said: “The new National Transport Strategy takes a big step forward. The way we travel plays a huge role in our lives, so we’re especially pleased to see the strategy highlight the role transport can play in health and wellbeing.
“We know that walking, cycling and public transport are best placed to deliver the aims of the new strategy, and these six priorities should be the focus to make it a success.
“This includes an end to expensive new road building schemes in order to tackle the climate emergency - this money can be better spent on sustainable, healthy alternatives.”
Clara Walker, executive director of Forth Environment Link, said: “FEL believes that by continuing to strengthen our National cycling and walking ambitions we will not only see improvements to our environment but also to public health.
“By increasing opportunities and funding for cycling and walking alongside improvements in the public transport network we will support our communities to make affordable and informed choices around how they travel.
“We are pleased to see the National Transport Strategy looking to strengthen integrated transport options. Those particularly in rural communities who experience higher public transport costs, will be able to look at multiple modes of transport as a real possibility and leave the car at home.”
Ian Findlay CBE, chief officer of Paths for All, added: “I welcome the NTS’s overall vision of ‘helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland’; and I believe that the high-level outcomes and policies have the potential to achieve this vision.
“However, it’s essential that these are more than wise words in a well-crafted strategy.
“Being truly faithful to the transport hierarchy will be transformational; but will require bold leadership and culture change at all levels in the way we think about, plan, deliver and invest in transportation in Scotland.”