Holyrood 2021 Hustings: Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party candidate Graham Simpson

Over our next few blogs, the candidates for each party attending our GoBike Hustings, will be providing a brief statement on their Active Travel commitments/policies for the next parliamentary term. The first statement we’ve had in is from the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Candidate Graham Simpson.

Graham Simpson has been a Scottish Conservative for Central Scotland since 2016. He was a councillor in South Lanarkshire between 2007 and 2017 and formed South Lanarkshire’s Cycling Partnership. Prior to being elected to parliament he was a sub editor for The Scottish Sun.


The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us all the value of the outdoors.

More and more people have discovered what’s on their doorsteps and they are liking it.

The numbers of people cycling and walking has increased and the challenge must be to ensure that increase is here to stay.

People need to feel safe and secure when they are cycling.

So I want to see more segregated routes in every town and city.

The Spaces for People scheme has been good – mostly – but some councils have not gone about it in the right way.

Edinburgh, for example, was particularly bad. They steamrollered scheme through without any consultation and that has got people’s backs up.

What should have been a positive thing has turned into something controversial and that should not be happening anywhere.

I want to see the active travel budget as a proportion of overall transport spend increase. It’s been stuck at around the 2-3% mark for years.

I think it is realistic to aim for that to reach 10% over the course of the next parliament, though anything more would be welcome.

We need to set design standards for routes, using what I would call the double buggy test – that is it needs to feel comfortable for anyone pushing a double buggy. If it doesn’t then it has failed.

Get that right and it helps able bodied and not to able bodied too.

My party’s more-detailed proposals will be set out in our manifesto, which we have yet to publish.

If you haven’t already done so please sign up here (link) for free to receive instructions on how to join us. The hustings is open to all with an interest in active travel, so we hope as many of our members and friends can attend.

Our hustings will run under the Wheel, Walk, Cycle Vote banner where we will focus our questions around their three pledges on accessibility, infrastructure and investment.