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Our fourth annual survey of mainland Scottish council transport departments shows a continuing fall in overall transport budgets, and a parallel drop in sums budgeted for cycling and SRS. There is no sign of the increased priority to cycling needed to meet government targets [earlier article] - despite cycling being "a vital mode in reducing car-use" [Scottish Office Transport White Paper].
One bright spot is that much external funding has been raised - but this may well decrease in future - see below.
The £70.5m total of 1999/2000 capital
transport budgets by Councils [col b in table, excl. Dundee
- note w] is a 10% fall on 1998/99's £78m actual expenditure.
It is hard to believe that, before the massive 1995/96 Conservative cuts,
council transport expenditure was twice its current figure! And, since
then, councils have repeatedly used their discretion to squeeze more funds
out of transport into other services.
Even amongst councils raising serious outside funds there was concern that several such sources were ending, and that reduced council budgets might anyway make it impossible to provide the necessary matching funds.
Staff are also very worried about the long-term
decline in council funds for maintenance of local roads - vital
for cyclists (and at a time when the government is spending hugely increased
sums on maintenance of trunk roads!)
Within transport, councillors are not prioritising cycling. Money for cycle and SRS work has stayed around 3.3% of the total for several years, so is falling in parallel with overall transport reductions. Councils across Scotland plan to spend £2.3m of capital funding on cycle/SRS schemes in 1999/2000 compared to £2.6m spent last year [cols f,g].
Top Council in percentage terms remains West Lothian [18.5%]; then Dumfries & Galloway [11.6%], Glasgow [8.4%], and Angus [6.5%] at twice the Scottish average.
The trend to outside funding sources such as Lottery, ERDF, LECs, landfill tax, Sustrans, private developers, etc, has continued; with Councils raising £4.4m [col i] for cycle projects - now double the spend from their own resources! However, over half this £4.4m has been raised by just 3 councils! - D&G [£839k], Fife [£784k], and Moray [£700k].
But the end of Lottery Millennium funding and of the Scottish Office Cycle Challenge, and completion of the Y2000 Sustrans core network, all mean reduced future options for outside funding. Also, it is clear from survey replies that some council money has been 'matching funds' to encourage outside sources. Such matching funds may suffer too, if there are less outside sources.
Our other indicator, total cycle/SRS expenditure [council +external] per head of population [col k], puts Moray as top council [814p per head], followed by D&G [696p], Clackmannanshire [388p], Stirling [380p] and, over £2 per head, Perth & Kinross, Fife and Falkirk.
Scotland-wide, little more than £1
per person is spent on cycle schemes. The German Environment Ministry,
in contrast, reckons £20 per head is needed [Surveyor
Dumfries & Galloway is first or second on all above indicators! The council is to spend £3.5m over 2-3 years, from its own transport budget, ERDF, PTF, Sustrans, Sports Lottery, and other sources. Projects under the D&G Cycling Initiative include the Sustrans NCN, community links to it, urban cycle facilities including a major Dumfries network, and associated SRS and tourism initiatives.
An insight on outside funding comes from Moray - with top cycle/SRS expenditure per head of population, but not spending a penny of its own! - thanks to big outside funding for a long-distance Sustrans NCN route and a developer-funded Elgin/Lossiemouth commuter cyclepath. But Moray [which also achieved the highest cycle-to-work rate of any Scottish council in the 1991 census] could easily be down from over £8 per head to zero next year!
Cycling/SRS work in Glasgow has steadily increased in recent years, and this year's cycle/SRS expenditure is one of Scotland's best as a percentage of the transport budget - way over Edinburgh's shrinking figure! Projects include a 7km network linking 6 universities/colleges [over 55,000 students/staff], city centre schemes, Sustrans NCN routes, and bike parking. There will be extensive help for cyclists in Quality Bus Corridors [c.f. Edinburgh Greenways], such as Clydebank-CityCentre-Easterhouse, with Scottish Office funding obtained by Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire.
Perth & Kinross and Scottish
Borders set up Cycle Forums some time ago. These are leading to higher
cycle budgets and inclusion of cycling in other initiatives. Perth
Transport Plan, for example, is designed to benefit cyclists, and a flood-prevention scheme includes £167k of riverside paths. The established Forums also put the councils in a better position to apply for serious outside funding.
The Forth-Circular councils [bottom
row of table] have largely given up their lead [Spokes
70], with increases in Falkirk and Stirling outweighed by falls
elsewhere. At the same time the Forth Estuary Forum has recommended
a Forth-Circular path as an early priority!
We don't normally list B&Bs etc, but
in view of D&G Council's superb work we'd like to mention Irene Pearson's
bike-friendly/rail-friendly Dumfries B&B. 01387.252262.
Like last year, cycle/SRS support does not depend on the type of area, but on having forward-looking councillors and staff. Top council allocations for cycling/SRS [col h] are budgeted by one city [Glasgow], one rural council [D&G], and one mixed area [West Lothian].
In general, councils who have spent little on cycling/SRS in the past remain uninterested. Of the 11 who spent under 1% of their budget on cycling in 98/99 [most of these spent nothing], only two rise above 1% in 99/00 - Scottish Borders and Perth & Kinross. This shows yet again that government exhortation is not enough - financial sticks and carrots are essential. Over half Scotland's councils spend under 2% of their transport capital budget on cycle/SRS work - the government must change the rules!
IF YOU AGREE THERE IS
SOMETHING WRONG WITH CYCLE FUNDING PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MSP - SEE FACTSHEET
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|a. Council name
[best entries are in bold type]
||Tot. cycle cap £k (cols c+d+e)||h. col f as % of col b||external||k. cols f+i, pence p/head||Tar-get set?||Cycle staff FTE||Bike audit procedure?|
|b. total transp capital||c. cycle budget||d. SRS budget||e. other cycle element||funding £k|
|f. 99/00||g. 98/99||i.99/00||j.98/99|
|Argyll & Bute||1900||0x||0||0||0||0||0.0%||0*||0*||0p*||N||~10||N|
|D & G||1585m||126||58||0||184||135||11.6%||839e||99||696p||Z||150||SF|
|E Dunbartonshire w||No reply received by print deadline|
|Inverclyde w||No reply received by print deadline|
|N Lanarkshire w||No reply received by print deadline|
|Perth & Kinross||1473||20||0||10||30||0||2.0%||288||5||239p||Y||<20||ST|
|Totals / averages excluding Dundee, Renfrewshire [capital budget unknown]; and E. Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, N. Lanarkshire [no reply]|
|Totals / averages for all councils except Dundee, using 98/99 or 97/98 figures for E. Dunbarton, Inverclyde, N. Lanark, Renfrew|
|Totals / averages for Forth-circular councils [Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Stirling, W Lothian]|