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Climate activists tell Scottish govt: “Get on yer bike!”

Scots call for increased funding for walking and cycling

Over 350 people, most of them on their bikes, gathered outside the office of the Scottish government in Edinburgh on 11 January. They came to support Stop Climate Change’s campaign to increase funding for cycling and walking instead of expensive road-building programmes that will increase Scotland’s carbon footprint.

Scotland has shown global leadership by setting the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the world, including a target to reduce Scotland’s emissions by 42% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2020. But the Scottish Climate Change Act can only set a good example if we actually achieve what we’ve committed to do. That commitment is under threat, as the Scottish government has failed to fund its own plans to reduce emissions.

You can’t blame “the cuts”…

Transport and housing minister, Keith Brown MSP, came along to the event and received a letter from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland highlighting the urgent need to fund plans to reduce emissions, particularly in the area of transport.

Brown addressed the crowd, claiming that cuts from Westminster meant a decrease in funding was inevitable. However, given that the overall transport budget is set to increase by around 16% while funding for cycling and walking will decrease by 33%, that argument is clearly not credible.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s chair, Tom Ballantine, said: “The government must now step up and fully fund all of the measures set out to meet our climate change targets in its own plans, the Low Carbon Scotland Report on Proposals and Policies.

“In particular the government needs to reverse cuts to funding for cycling and walking in the 2012-2013 budget and instead invest in sustainable, low-carbon transport, which is why so many people have turned up here today.”

Gail Wilson is the coordinator for Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a diverse coalition of over 60 organisations campaigning together on climate change: www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland