The funding will enhance the Community Links programme run by Sustrans Scotland, which is open to bids from all local authorities across the country for infrastructure projects to promote cycling and walking.
It will provide a significant enhancement to the support the Scottish Government is already offering to local authorities to promote active travel and provides a real opportunity for them to plan ambitiously for the infrastructure improvements needed in their areas.
Local authorities are encouraged to look at developing flagship schemes that will make a difference to helping more people to walk and cycle for everyday local journeys.
In support of this aspiration, the Minister also announced that some of the new funding will be allocated to the City of Edinburgh Council’s scheme to implement cycling improvements on Leith Walk. The Scottish Government will offer up to £3.6m to help realise the scheme’s potential for promoting active travel along a key commuter corridor.
The funding, which was announced as part of Mr Swinney’s draft budget statement on 11 September, is in addition to the £58m already allocated to active travel in the 2011 spending review.
Scotland’s first cycling summit provided local authorities, regional transport partnerships and other bodies involved in active travel with an opportunity to discuss what more can be done to make cycling a safe and attractive option for all, to deliver on the vision in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland of 10% journeys by bicycle by 2020.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“This new additional funding demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering infrastructure to make cycling a safe and realistic travel choice.
“We are offering local authorities the chance to promote active travel and encourage them to look at developing exemplar projects that will make a difference to helping more people to walk and cycle for everyday local journeys. We are also looking to local authorities to contribute too, given the considerable potential for local benefit from investing in their communities.
“The City of Edinburgh Council’s ambitious plans for improving Leith Walk aims to deliver an exemplar commuter corridor. Subject to finalising designs, the Scottish Government is pleased to be able to offer support for this project which has significant potential for promoting much enhanced levels of walking and cycling by across the city.”
Ian Findlay, chief officer of national charity, Paths for All said:
“Paths for All welcomes the announcement of additional funding for active travel. Any increase in funding will encourage more people to make short everyday journeys by foot and bike, which helps to meet many Government priorities relating to transport, health, the economy and the environment. We also particularly welcome the Government’s practical leadership in organising the first national cycling summit and look forward to positive outcomes from this that will help to achieve the vision of 10% of bike trips by 2020.”
John Lauder, national director of Sustrans Scotland said:
“Sustrans Scotland is pleased with the announcement of an additional £20m of new funding for cycling over the next two years. We want to see many more people in Scotland having the choice to travel by bike in the future.
“The role of local authorities in helping realise the vision of the CAPS is crucial given that people want their local shopping and residential streets to be welcoming places to get about by bike. I hope that this announcement will help local authorities to see the merit in dedicating more of their own funding to help people make short trips under their own steam rather than relying on their car.”
Ian Aitken, chief executive officer, Cycling Scotland said:
“Cycling Scotland welcomes the announcement of additional funding for cycling infrastructure. The research that Cycling Scotland conducted to inform the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland clearly showed that improvements in infrastructure is one of the most important measures in getting people who don’t currently cycle to consider getting out on their bikes. Improved infrastructure is also a key measure in improving cycle safety and that has to be the main priority to ensure that we achieve the CAPS vision of 10% of trips by bike.”
Cllr Jim Orr, the City of Edinburgh’s Council’s vice transport convener said:
“I’m delighted that Edinburgh was given the opportunity to host the first ever cycling summit as we are making great progress in increasing cycling rates by making it easier than ever. The summit provided local authorities and Government agencies such as Cycling Scotland an opportunity to work together and learn from each other. Investing in cycling is a top priority in Edinburgh via our ongoing Active Travel Action Plan and we have committed to spend 6% of the entire transport budget for 2013/14 on promoting it.”