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Holyrood Elections – act now!!

May 2011 sees elections to the Scottish Parliament, for the 4 years to 2015.   Scottish environmental organisations are trying to influence party manifestos – and you can help!!

Along with 60 other groups, Spokes is part of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition.   In consultation with its member groups SCCS has produced a manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections [pdf 0.5MB] and is making strenuous efforts to encourage parties to include these commitments in their own election promises.

You can help by taking part in the e-action below, contacting the party leaders to tell them which of the SCCS proposals you would like to see in their party’s manifesto.  Obviously with 60 groups (with a combined membership of 2 million people) there will be many differing views and priorities, and the manifesto has to have an element of compromise, but the e-action allows you to select the particular issue(s) that concern you.

From the Spokes perspective our top priority is the SCCS manifesto transport section, which asks that 10% of national transport investment goes to active travel (walking and cycling), funded by reducing the trunk roads budget, and that the national speed limit on single-carriageway roads (where motorist/cyclist crashes often result in serious injury) is set at 50mph.

Please join the e-action now!  On the e-action page, tick the ‘take action’ button, then tick one or two of the proposals listed (including, we suggest, the transport one), enter your details, and then follow the instructions to send your message by email or post to the party leaders in Scotland.

As background to what could be achieved, SCCS provide this example of long-term cycling investment from Graz in Austria.   There are  similar case studies on other of the manifesto topics.

Finally, here is the complete section of the SCCS manifesto dealing with rebalancing transport investment…

Transport is the one sector where emissions keep on rising relentlessly.  Over two thirds of transport emissions comes from road transport, yet Government spending on road-building has soared in recent years.

Five years ago, the Government invested 70% of its transport budget on public transport and active travel (walking and cycling). Now almost half goes on trunk roads – and this is before significant amounts have been spent on the proposed Aberdeen western bypass or a £2.3 billion Second Forth Road Bridge.

Increasing levels of physical activity combats obesity and improves mental and physical health.  Redirecting finances towards active travel would help to attain these goals and would directly benefit the one third of Scots who don’t have access to a car.

The Government should commit to a sustained movement of funding away from roads in order to ensure better alignment between climate change targets and transport policy. It must also ensure that at least 10% of the total transport budget is invested in active travel.

FUTURE OF CLIMATE CHALLENGE FUND

On a separate but related point, there is uncertainty over future funding for the CCF, which is open to bids from organisations for community initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.   CCF has at the same time been very effective in providing crucial backing for a wide range of local initiatives to boost cycle use for everyday journeys.

CCF has funded (in whole or part) the Spokes tenements project, the Bike Station’s Better Way to Work, and a whole range of wider local projects which have included useful work on cycling promotion and lobbying – for example, Greener Leith, Transition Edinburgh South, and Linlithgow Climate Challenge.  Our research suggests that in total CCF is contributing around £400k of direct cycle project work in year 2010/11 through the above and many other projects around Scotland.

There is a campaign to get political parties to commit to continuing and extending the fund.   If you’d like to help retain this funding, email your MSPs, using the info on the Climate Challenge Fund Coalition e-action web page.

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