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Contact MSPs!! – Spokesworker 30.12.10 [updated 19 Jan]

Several major decisions on future funding for cycling will be taken in the next few weeks.  You can help!! – please contact your MSPs …

JANUARY 20 UPDATE: Spokes has just written to Cabinet Secretary John Swinney MSP [rtf 11k] and to all other party Finance spokespersons, about the forthcoming announcement of provisional spending plans for the next few years up to 2014-16.   These plans could of course change, especially if there is a change of power in May’s Holyrood elections.   Please ask your own local MSPs for a manifesto commitment to increase the proportion of the transport budget going to cycling investment from its present roughly 1%.  Writing now is vital given the timescale for manifestos and for the budget.

JANUARY 3 UPDATE: Spokes has just written to party leaders [pdf 134k] about manifestos for the Scottish Parliament elections, and seeking information for our Spring Bulletin. Your letters to your own MSPs will help build the pressure for manifesto commitments [as well as for the budget] and will help our suggestions be taken more seriously.

Future funding for cycle projects across Scotland over the next 3 to 4 years – including Edinburgh’s Active Travel Action Plan – will be influenced by three major developments in the next few weeks.   You can help push them in the right direction by sending one email or letter to your MSPs. Everyone should make at least one altruistic New Year resolution – this could be yours!!

Over the next few weeks, the Scottish 2011-12 budget will be finalised, provisional government spending plans for the next 4 years will be drafted and, perhaps most important, political parties will finalise their manifestos for the May 2011 Scottish Parliament elections.

This really matters – indeed the 2011-12 budget decision will even affect how much funding Edinburgh Council has for the planned Quality Bike Corridor from Mayfield/Kings Buildings to Princes Street.  Party manifestos will affect what funding there is for future Quality Corridors in other parts of the city – and for literally 1000’s of other real-life cycle projects right across Scotland.  Sympathetic MSPs have told us that letters to MSPs from ordinary constituents really make a difference to what appears in party manifestos.   The small but welcome one-year boost to cycling investment during 2010-11 also followed sustained pressure and lobbying.

The full story, and more ideas on how and what you could write, are in Spokesworker 30.12.10.

You have one constituency MSP and several List MSPs (seven if you live in Lothian).   Please send your email/letter to all of them.  Find them all, and their addresses at www.writetothem.com.

You can find more detail in the new Spokesworker but, very briefly, the most important single point is to ask for a substantial rise in the proportion of  transport spending which is allocated to cycling investment.  Ask your MSPs to press for this to be in their party manifesto and to be in the Parliament’s provisional spending plans for the next 4 years.   Also ask for an immediate cycling boost in the 2011-12 budget – and especially that the CWSS (Cycling, Walking, Safer Streets) fund is not scrapped – there is still a slight risk of this, which would devastate council cycling plans in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

[more detail] Although this is a time of spending restraint, we are not asking for increased total transport spending.   We are asking for a rejig of the transport budget.   At present a mere 1% is invested in cycling projects – yet 2% of work trips in Scotland already are by bike, and the government has set a target for 10% of all trips by bike in 2020.   That target is crazy without the necessary investment.   Our research suggests that to have even a slight hope of reaching the target the absolute minimum investment needed is £50m a year – 2.5% of the transport budget [see the Spokes Budget Submission].   And in terms of carbon reduction targets, the government’s own Report on Policies and Proposals (which accompanies the budget) suggests that an average of around £100m a year should be invested in active travel (walking+cycling) i.e. 5% of the transport budget, rather than the present 1%+.

ALSO IN THE NEW SPOKESWORKER…

  • Photographic recording of road hazards using cyclestreets website
  • More on Spokes Bike Storage project
  • Peak Oil warning from big industries – oil prices to keep rising
  • Review sought on £200m Forth Bridge 2011/12 spending
  • Forthcoming events
  • and more….

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