We have certainly been well battered by storms this month and I guess it’s curtailed a few planned rides. As well as a windy month it’s also been a very busy time for both policy consultations and local elections planning ahead of the 5 May polls.
I’m aching for spring and some better weather to enjoy. Maybe this hopefulness has put me in an optimistic mood but I do feel as though the winds of change are starting to build and blow through Scotland’s policy landscape to create the conditions needed for cycling to thrive.
The bureaucracy of government works slowly but if all the strategies below are strongly implemented it would move Scotland a long way towards transformatory change. What’s needed now – in parallel – is for Local Authorities to step up, be bold and deliver the change at the local level – for people, communities and cycling.
At Cycling UK we have launched a local elections campaign manifesto and are urging councils and politicians to make local cycling revolutions happen across Scotland. See item 1.5 for more information but please do support our campaign by signing our campaign e-action.
New in this month’s digest:
- ideas for responding to the Spending Review consultation (item 1.1)
- NPF4 consultation events (item 1.2)
- a new guide from Friends of the Earth Scotland on responding to the 20% Car km reduction route map (item 1.3)
- a new guide from Cycling UK in Scotland (for download below) on responding to the STPR2 consultation (item 1.4)
Section 1: Current Consultations
(in date order for responses)
1.1: Scottish Government – Investing in Scotland’s Future: Resource Spending Review Framework
The recent budget announcement of £150m for active travel is a substantial increase although it was below what was hoped for. Therefore, we need to argue for a big boost to funding in the next budget at the end of this year – £235m would be appropriate in order to get Scotland on a straight line trajectory to £320m in 2024/25.
Beyond this we need to call for ongoing increased investment in active travel to 20% of the transport budget, as Walk Wheel Cycle Vote called for at the last election. We don’t want funding to plateau at £320m – we need to argue for growth to continue.
In addition, we need multi-year funding settlements for cycling projects and initiatives so that there can be security to meet long-term objectives.
The Spending Review does not go into the detail of budgets and spend but concentrates more on the principles of future spending. I recommend using Q4 to outline the need for the above investment in active travel and that this spending will meet the principles/objectives to/for;
- ‘Empower individuals and communities’
- ‘Prevent negative outcomes from arising’
- ‘Prevention: we will consider options to redirect funding towards demonstrable preventative approaches.’
Finally, for Q4 there is also the opportunity to call for more policies which financially affect drivers as a way to disincentivise car use. The workplace parking levy, Low Emission Zones, parking charges and road-user charging (road pricing) can all add cost to driving and meet the Spending Review’s consideration of using ‘Targeted revenue raising’.
Closes 27 March 2022
1.2: Scottish Government – Draft National Planning Framework 4
The NPF4 is a major document setting out the direction for national planning policy and national developments for the next decades. The fourth NPF is focussed on meeting the net-zero target and supporting the nature restoration and recovery – good progress from NPF3.
Overall its a positive document aiming to drive planning and national developments towards addressing the climate emergency.
The big news for cycling is the inclusion of a National Cycling, Walking and Wheeling Network as a National Development, important because this designation as a national development gives it high status. There’s also more detail on creating 20 minute neighbourhoods.
Also relevant to Glasgow is a ‘Clyde Mission’ national development. However, there’s not a great deal of detail on these proposed policies.
NPF4 Consultation Events
Registration is now open for Draft NPF4 online events during February and March, facilitated by Kevin Murray Associates (KMA) and PAS. The purpose of the informal, interactive sessions is to raise awareness and share views about the Draft NPF4, in order to inform and support the preparation of responses to the consultation, which closes on 31 March 2022.
Places are available on a first come, first served basis. If you want to booking a place please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each session will focus on a specific action area, or policy theme from
Action area discussion – sessions remaining:
Tues 1 March, 12.30–2pm – Central Urban Transformation
Tues 8 March, 4.30–6pm – North and West Coastal Innovation
Policy themed discussions – sessions remaining:
Thurs 3 March, 4.30–6pm – Distinctive Places
Thurs 10 March, 4.30–6pm – Sustainable Place
Closes 31 March 2022
1.3: Transport Scotland – 20% Reduction in Car Km Route Map
Since last month’s digest I want to highlight the new guide produced by Friends of the Earth Scotland to help you respond to this consultation.
The Route Map has been published setting out Government’s plans to achieve the target from the updated Climate Change Plan which committed Scotland to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030.
Its a first time in the UK that a government has targeted demand management in this way. Wales has set up a review of its road building programme in light of the Climate Emergency – many argue that Transport Scotland should also put a halt to road building, such as increasing capacity on the A9 and A96.
The Route Map includes more than 30 interventions aiming to achieve the target but all of these are recycled policies – there’s nothing new.
In my blog post for Cycling UK I also argue that there need to be more ‘sticks’ to directly disincentivise driving. There are lots of positive ‘carrots’ providing alternatives to driving but they all need developing. There also analysis in this twitter thread.
Closes 6 April 2022
1.4: Transport Scotland – Strategic Transport Projects Review – STPR2
STPR2 is a shortlist of transport infrastructure projects for delivery over the next 20 years which will help Scotland to decarbonise transport as well as other objectives. This is positive and a change from the first STPR which was notable for locking in high carbon infrastructure such as motorway building and the Queensferry Bridge.
However, STPR2 still has big projects – creating a network of cycle lanes is a big job – but different in that they will be delivered by multiple actors.
I have produced a guide (below) to responding to the consultation for Cycling UK Scotland, which anyone is welcome to use. Read more background in the associated STPR2 blog post.
The guide provide guidance on how to answer questions dealing with the recommendations that can benefit cycling, such as:
- Active Freeway & Cycle Parking Hubs
- Rural cycling connections
- 20 minute neighbourhoods
- Behaviour change projects
- Access to bikes
- Cycling to school
- 20mph zones
- Speed limits review
The guide doesn’t advise on the rights or wrongs of other projects such as the Glasgow Metro system!
Closes 15 April 2022
1.5: Cycling UK in Scotland – Scotland local election e-action
Cycling UK are calling for cycling revolutions in local communities across Scotland to enable more people to cycle for pleasure and short local journeys, in attractive and safe urban and rural spaces.
Councils must make this happen by spending the record levels of funding now available for cycling, walking and wheeling on high-quality cycle routes and other projects which make neighbourhoods better for people.
Section 2: Forthcoming Consultations
Transport Scotland is developing a new Cycling Framework and Delivery Plan for Active Travel which is the follow up to the Cycling Action Plan. This will be very important for driving forward action on cycling so will be a highlight of a future digest.
Section 3: Consultation Feedback
None this month