Scottish voters have shown strong support for the next Scottish Government to commit at least 10% of its transport budget to active travel. This would represent record spending on cycling and walking and a major increase on the 3.5% of the 2021 transport budget allocation.
In a poll carried out this month by YouGov on behalf of Cycling UK, 1,204 people were asked whether they would support or oppose a pledge by the Scottish Government to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on active travel. Overall, 47% said they would support this commitment, while 20% would oppose it. Of the remainder, 25% said they would neither support nor oppose such a move and 9% didn’t know.
Support was strongest among those aged 16 to 24, with more than eight times as many (68%) in favour of the spending pledge as opposing it (8%). Levels of support outweighed opposition in all age groups: of those aged 65+, 40% were in favour while 26% were against.
Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said the results of the poll send a clear message to politicians that increased spending on active travel is a vote-winner. “There is clearly strong support across Scotland for the next Scottish Government to deliver on our target to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on cycling and walking. The results show that support outweighs opposition regardless of age, social class or location in Scotland.”
Analysis by Cycling UK shows the Scottish National Party have made the lowest manifesto commitment to active travel, promising that by the end of the next Parliament they will spend approximately 5.5% of the overall transport budget. The Scottish Green Party has made the highest pledge, at an immediate 10% of the transport budget rising to 20% by the end of the next Parliament.
Both the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour have committed to spend 10% of the transport budget on active travel, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats has pledged approximately 7%.
Securing a pledge to commit at least 10% of transport spending to active travel is one of 11 asks for the next Scottish Government set out by Cycling UK in its manifesto for cycling, which was published in February ahead of the Holyrood election on 6 May.
Mr Densham said: “During the pandemic, quieter roads and safe space to cycle have encouraged many more people to ride bikes to get around and for leisure. We’ve seen more people out walking and wheeling too. People will choose to get around actively if it feels safe and enjoyable to do so.
“The message from the public is clear: the next Scottish Government must urgently seize the opportunity to maintain this momentum for the good of Scotland’s people and environment.”
In addition to publishing the election manifesto, Cycling UK has created an online action, where the public can find out which of their MSP candidates have made the pledge to support its aims, and write to those who haven’t.