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Transport Minister announces £3.3m of additional funding for cycling and walking infrastructure.
Speaking at the first Active Travel Summit, hosted by Highland Council and organised by Transport Scotland, Derek Mackay confirmed this new funding takes overall investment in active travel to £39.2 million for 2015/16, to match last year's record investment in cycling and walking.
The Summit is an opportunity to build on the excellent work achieved in the past year, and to recognise the efforts and contributions that local authorities (both elected members and officials), Regional Transport Partnerships, Health Boards and all other stakeholders have made to active travel. And to encourage partnership working, emphasising that strong local ambition are key to continued progress.
Mr Mackay said:
"I am delighted to attend this first ever Active Travel Summit - establishing an annual event of this kind has been a high priority for me personally and it was the number one action from the 2013 Cycling Action Plan for Scotland.
"The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland are committed to encouraging healthier and greener modes of travel. That is why we are investing more than £1 billion to encourage people out of their cars and onto more sustainable and active modes. In addition, we have funded behaviour change programmes through the £5 million Smarter Choices, Smarter Places fund.
"This additional £3.3m will allow us to match last year's record investment in active travel, fulfilling the commitment I made at Pedal on Parliament in April this year and re-confirmed at the NCN debate in Parliament last month. More can be done however and we must keep up the current momentum in growing active travel."
In November 2014, the Transport Minister launched the Active Travel Vision, which aims to encourage more people to walk and cycle for everyday shorter journeys. It focuses on areas such as infrastructure, transport integration, cultural and behaviour change, community ownership and planning.
Investment in Sustainable and Active Travel includes just over £20 million of Scottish Government funding which will allow Sustrans Scotland to continue their work on new facilities – varying from short path links to schools and shops, to innovative initiatives which overcome significant barriers through the Community Links programme.
Each Sustrans Scotland project is match-funded by local authorities and other partners– taking investment in walking and cycling facilities in Scotland to over £44 million.
John Lauder, Director, Sustrans Scotland said:
"Sustrans Scotland welcomes the Minister's announcement today for additional funding for walking and cycling. The Scottish Government is right to place greater emphasis on, and dedicate more funding to, healthier and greener ways of getting around.
"Walking and cycling is one of the best investments any government can make. The projects we deliver with funding from Transport Scotland are delivering high-return investment at a low cost.
"We'll continue to connect Scotland's communities through our Community Links Programme, and develop the National Cycle Network in Scotland, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year."
This funding will principally be made available through Sustrans to support additional community links projects and enhancements to the National Cycle Network in this, its 20th Anniversary year. Further information will be available soon on the Sustrans website.