Cycling Action Plan

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 5 September 2019.

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Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

1. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its progress implementing the cycling action plan for Scotland. (S5O-03481)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

I gave a full statement to Parliament on 18 June 2019, updating it on the progress in implementing the cycling action plan for Scotland. Cycling Scotland is undertaking a review of progress on the cycling action plan 2020, which will be reported on once it has concluded. At the same time, Cycling Scotland is working with other partners on the actions, outcomes and priorities that will be needed beyond 2020, which will play a key part in delivering the greener, safer, happier and healthier Scotland that we all want to see.

Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

The plan in question sets out a target for 10 per cent of everyday journeys to be completed by bike by 2020, but the most recent figures show that just 1.5 per cent of journeys are being taken by bike and only 3 per cent of people travel to work in this way. Can the cabinet secretary explain how he will manage to secure an almost sevenfold increase in the next year, or will he furnish Parliament with a revised, more realistic target?

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

As I set out in my statement to Parliament back in June, there are areas where we have made progress but there are certain areas where we have not made sufficient progress, which means that the overall target of 10 per cent will not be achieved in the timescale that was set out in the action plan. That is why Cycling Scotland is undertaking a review of the action plan, to consider what further measures we need to take in order to address the issues. Once we have its report, we will be in a position to determine what further measures we need to put in place in order to drive this area of policy forward.

The member will be aware that, in the two previous budgets, we have doubled our active travel budget to £88 million per annum in order to help to support greater infrastructure investment, particularly in cycling and walking. We made a commitment on Tuesday of this week to maintain that in order to ensure that we continue to see infrastructure investment going into cycling and walking provision.

Photo of Neil Findlay Neil Findlay Labour

The United Kingdom Government is going to extend the cap for people taking part in the bike-to-work scheme so that it can expand the use of electric bikes. Is there any way that the Scottish Government can incentivise the uptake of electric bikes? The focus just now seems to be more on electric cars.

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

The member may be interested to know that we have a loan scheme whereby individuals can secure funding for the purpose of purchasing electric bikes, because they are more costly. If I recall correctly, something like £6,000 per household is available for the purchase of up to, I think, three or four bikes, and it is an interest-free loan that they receive for the purpose of doing that, so there is a scheme in place that can support people in purchasing electric bikes.

As anyone who has had the opportunity to use an e-bike will know, they are fantastic in helping to support people in getting back into cycling and being able to use a bike on occasions when they would otherwise choose not to do so, and I certainly wish to encourage other people to think about e-bikes as an option for commuting.