Poll shows support for ‘record’ cycling and walking spend in Scotland

47% of people in Scotland support allocating at least 10% of the Scottish transport budget to cycling and walking, while just 20% oppose it, a YouGov poll has found.

This would represent record spending on cycling and walking and an increase on the 3.5% of the 2021 transport budget allocation, said Cycling UK.

In the poll carried out this month on behalf of the charity, 1,204 people were asked whether they would support or oppose a pledge by the Scottish Government to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on active travel.

Support was strongest among those aged 16 to 24, with more than eight times as many (68%) in favour of the spending pledge as opposing it (8%). Levels of support outweighed opposition in all age groups: of those aged 65+, 40% were in favour while 26% were against.

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said the results of the poll send a ‘clear message’ to politicians that increased spending on active travel is a vote-winner. “There is clearly strong support across Scotland for the next Scottish Government to deliver on our target to spend at least 10% of the transport budget on cycling and walking.

“The results show that support outweighs opposition regardless of age, social class or location in Scotland.”

Analysis by Cycling UK shows that the Scottish National Party have promised to spend approximately 10% of the overall transport budget on active travel by the end of the next Parliament. Both the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour have also committed to 10%, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats have pledged approximately 7%. The Scottish Green Party has made the highest pledge, at an immediate 10% of the transport budget rising to 20% by the end of the next Parliament.

Securing a pledge to commit at least 10% of transport spending to active travel is one of 11 asks for the next Scottish Government set out by Cycling UK in its manifesto for cycling, which was published in February ahead of the Holyrood election on 6th May.

“During the pandemic, quieter roads and safe space to cycle have encouraged many more people to ride bikes to get around and for leisure,” said Densham. “We’ve seen more people out walking and wheeling too. People will choose to get around actively if it feels safe and enjoyable to do so.

“The message from the public is clear: the next Scottish Government must urgently seize the opportunity to maintain this momentum for the good of Scotland’s people and environment.”

In addition to publishing the election manifesto, Cycling UK has created an online action, where the public can find out which of their MSP candidates have made the pledge to support its aims, and write to those who haven’t.

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