Public Health (Cycling)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10th May 2017.

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Photo of Gordon Lindhurst Gordon Lindhurst Conservative

12. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve public health through cycling. (S5O-00960)

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

We know that cycling has physical and mental health benefits and plays a big part in health improvement. Over the period 2014 to 2017, sportscotland has invested almost £2.6 million in Scottish Cycling, the governing body for the sport in Scotland. In addition, through Transport Scotland, we have increased investment in active travel by more than 83 per cent compared with investment in 2013-14, and have pledged to match record levels of investment during the current parliamentary session. All cycling organisations are working together to consider what more can be done, at the national and local levels, to get people active through cycling.

Photo of Gordon Lindhurst Gordon Lindhurst Conservative

I thank the minister for that answer. Does the Scottish Government agree with the eight calls set out in pedal on Parliament’s manifesto? If not, which ones does it not agree with?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

We will continue to work with all our partners on what we can do to improve the accessibility and safety of cycling at the local and national levels. We have invested heavily in making sure that cycling is more accessible. We have invested through legacy programmes. The one that Gordon Lindhurst, as a Lothians MSP, might be interested in is the recently opened Skelf bike park in Edinburgh, which got grant funding through the legacy 2014 project, allowing people who might not ordinarily have had access to cycling to use the cycle route there free of charge for many years to come.

Along with our partners, we have invested a total of approximately £138 million in cycling facilities since 2007 and we have increased the number of cycle paths and walking lanes. We will continue to listen to all calls on what more we can do to increase cycling participation levels at the local and national levels. We will also work with pedal on Parliament to identify areas on which we can work together to make improvements for Scotland.

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

What impact does the Scottish Government envisage that the decision to leave the European Union will have on funding for the future of active travel hubs across Scotland?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

We have pledged to match record levels of investment in active travel during this parliamentary session. Transport Scotland, as lead partner, has secured investment of up to £8 million from the European regional development fund 2014 to 2020 programme to support the development of low-carbon travel and transport hubs until December next year.

In June, Transport Scotland will publish details of projects that have been successful under the initial low-carbon travel and transport challenge fund round. All ERDF contracts entered into before the United Kingdom leaves the EU will be guaranteed, even when the payments continue beyond the EU exit point. However, there is no clarity on replacement funding arrangements for those schemes once the UK has left the EU. The Scottish Government will negotiate with the UK Government to ensure that future financial support for the range of initiatives that are currently supported by EU funds is allocated fairly and equitably across the UK post-Brexit.

The member is right to recognise that, in all areas of life, the mess that the UK Government has got us into with Brexit and its lack of clarity and engagement will impact on many issues in local communities, including cycling. We will continue to negotiate, and we will make the case to ensure that Scotland gets a fair deal in the negotiations.