Scotland boosts funds for walking, wheeling and cycling

Patrick Harvie

The funding is the next step in its commitment to put active travel at the heart of transport policy.

Minister for active travel Patrick Harvie outlined actions including:

  • increasing the cycling, walking and safer routes budget – which goes directly to local authorities – from nearly £24m to £35m for 2022/23;
  • more than doubling funding for the National Cycle Network to over £10m for 2022/23;
  • allocating over £300,000 in road safety framework funding to develop a National Dashcam Safety Portal with Police Scotland – making it easier to report crimes that put other road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians, in danger;
  • continuing to pilot the provision of free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them;
  • launching a new £1.5m walking fund, managed by Paths for All and named in memory of Ian Findlay, the Paths for All chief officer and advocate for active travel, who died last year.

Harvie said: “I am delighted that through the co-operation agreement the Scottish Government is investing a record sum of £150m for active travel in 2022/23 and have committed to investing at least £320m or 10% of the transport budget for active travel by 2024/25.

“What matters now is for that record investment to deliver on the ground, with exciting new ideas for footpaths and cycleways, increased safety, provision of bikes where cost is a barrier and making sure that more people feel confident to choose to walk, wheel or cycle – and so much more.

“I look forward to seeing that new investment translated into projects, but I am especially pleased that the Scottish government will fund a new programme in memory of Ian Findlay, the chief officer of Paths for All who sadly died last year. The new fund, delivered through Paths for All will provide over £1.5m to remove barriers on the existing path network. It will ensure our paths are more resilient to climate change and increased use, building on Ian’s proud legacy and contributions to everyday walking across Scotland.

“Through the wide ranging actions outlined today, we’ll continue to help build an active nation – essential to our health and to our green recovery – where more people can walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys than ever before.”

Kevin Lafferty, Paths for All’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We greatly welcome this additional investment in active travel in Scotland. The new Ian Findlay Path Fund will support community path projects right across the country and help get more people walking by removing barriers.

“The fund will play an important role in improving health and wellbeing and it is a fitting tribute to Ian whose vision was to make Scotland a walking nation where everyone has the opportunity to be active every day.”

Paths for All is Scotland’s national walking charity. It is a partnership of organisations committed to promoting walking for health and the development of multi-use path networks in Scotland. Ian Findlay was the chief officer at Paths for All for more than 17 years and received a CBE for services to healthy lifestyles and outdoor activities in 2019. He died suddenly in March 2021 while cycling near his home in Comrie, Perthshire, just a few weeks before his 60th birthday.

Paths for All's chief officer Ian Findlay, who died last year
Paths for All’s chief officer Ian Findlay, who died last year

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