John Swinney, Scottish Finance Secretary, has confirmed to Sustrans that cycling initiative Cycling Walking and Safer Streets (CWSS) is safe from the Government cuts.
Sustrans asked for assurance over the scheme, which it says has seen significant increase in physical activity in Scotland. Other sustainable transport groups joined in the lobbying.
Despite the positive news, however, the fund looks set to be reduced from £9m to £7.5m.
“We commend this real commitment by Mr Swinney, the TICC Committee and COSLA to improving the levels of physical activity in Scotland and therefore the health of the population,” said director of Sustrans Scotland John Lauder.
“Athough the fund has been reduced in size, it has not been hit as hard as other areas. We’ve already seen how investing in walking and cycling can reap real rewards and this means we can continue to build on that."
“These results show that the Scottish Government’s investment in good quality walking and cycling facilities is already paying off. More and more people are getting enthused about travelling more actively and seeing that there is an alternative to car travel for local everyday journeys. People are cycling for leisure but also increasingly seeing the Network as a way they can get to work, school, or just around their local area. These results are good news but are just the beginning – investment in walking and cycling is a key part to the future of transport in Scotland.”
Results published by Sustrans show that over the past two years, the National Cycle Network has exceeded performance targets, with usage rising 31.8 per cent since 2007. The original target was 15 per cent by 2011.
Crucially, it was hoped in 2007 that 25 per cent of users would be new to cycling. By 2009, 33.1 per cent of National Cycle Network users were new to cycling.
The development, maintenance and promotion of the National Cycle Network has been funded in part by the Scottish Government (£5 million a year) with an extra sum in 2010 to boost the launch of CAPS – Cycling Action Plan for Scotland.