February 2019

Spokes Bulletin 133 – Climate/Transport/Cycling… is ScotGov serious?

In the last 1-2 years, the Scottish Government has significantly upped its support for cycling.  But … at the same time it is boosting road and air travel, and its forecasts fortell a frightening future…

The government predicts that, under its own current policies, by year 2037…

Click picture for pdf of main Bulletin. For centre supplement, click here or go to Bulletin tab on website.

  • car trips will rise 25%, from 1.8bn to 2.3bn
  • goods trips will rise 44%
  • miles driven will rise 37%, from 20bn to 28bn
  • congestion (time wasted per mile) will rise 37%, with the biggest impact in our area, South East Scotland.  Even in Aberdeen, congestion will be worse in 2037 than before the new £1bn ‘peripheral road’ was built.
  • bus passenger miles will fall 5%
  • rail use will rise – the only sustainable mode shift
  • there are no predictions for bike or walk.

These are ‘central’ forecasts but even the ‘low scenario’ shows very significant worsening compared to now.  Moreover they take no account of the planned £3bn dualling of the A9 or the £3bn dualling of the A96, which will worsen the statistics yet further.

It is hard to see how these predictions are compatible with government ambitions on climate change – or indeed on public health (sedentary-ness and pollution) or on congestion and local economies.

The welcome new support for cycle use, thanks to decisions by former Transport Minister Humza Yousaf, included a doubling of investment, an ambitious task force report on boosting cycle use, a new Active Nation Commissioner post to progress the report, and innovative measures such as the forthcoming rail/bike carriages on the rural northern lines.  But … this all exists in a bubble outside of which the government is also boosting road (and air) traffic.  Even in the task force report, there is no recognition that a major rise in bike use is incompatible with the ever-increasing car use which the government predicts that its own policies will bring about.

Our Spring Spokes Bulletin features these issues, and their relation to climate policy, in the lead-up to our major public meeting on Climate, Transport and Cycling.

Click for pdf, or email for paper copies

The Bulletin is on its way to Spokes members, to 1200 decision-makers across Scotland* and to another 10,000+ interested people through bike shops, libraries and so on throughout Edinburgh, Lothian and beyond.
*including all 129 Scottish MSPs, all 132 Edinburgh+Lothians councillors, transport consultants, health officials, etc, etc.

You can find pdfs of this and earlier Bulletins on our Spokes Bulletin page.

Articles & pictures in B133, in addition to the above, include …

  • Spokes support for new Shrub Food-Sharing Hub e-cargobike
  • Onstreet bike storage coming this year
  • The human costs of cycle project delays
  • Abandoned bikes – what to do about them
  • Broken or redundant bike bits – what to do with them
  • Toxic pollution
  • Tramline miscellany – existing and future tramlines
  • and in the printed Bulletin…
    • Supplement – Climate/Transport/Cycling – available separately as a pdf here.
    • The supplement includes party statements on climate/transport/cycling
  • and if you are a Spokes member your mailing also includes …
    • Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge flyer (prizes!!)
    • Council west-east cycleroute – latest update bulletin.


  • Having more members helps us – and we hope to help you in return by keeping you in touch with what’s happening and what you can do about it!  You’ll get a roughly-monthly email in addition to the thrice-yearly Bulletin.
  • We have spares of the new Bulletin for bike leafleting at workplaces, shops etc – let us know if you could use a supply.    Many Spokes members take a regular supply of each issue for their local workplace, shops or other useful destinations.  We also have plenty spares of the above public meeting poster.


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