Scottish election 2021: Tories to pledge £1 million for cycling initiatives and promise a cycle network in every city

The Scottish Conservatives will today pledge £1 million for cycling initiatives to rebuild the way people commute.

Douglas Ross’s party will promise steps to recognise the change to how people travel brought about by the pandemic.

The manifesto will also pledge to increase the share of the transport budget that is spent on active travel to 10 per cent.

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The £1 million would go towards cycle proficiency training and repairs.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross on the election campaign trail. Picture: John Devlin

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: "We have seen a big increase in people walking and getting on their bikes during the pandemic.

“Not only does this provide obvious physical and mental health benefits, but it also eases congestion and reduces pollution in our towns and cities.

"We have a great opportunity to build on this and not be shy about our ambitions.

"Over the course of the next parliament, we would increase the share of the transport budget which is spent on active travel to 10 per cent.

"This year we would invest £1m in cycle proficiency training for adults and cycle repair vouchers to encourage more people to take to cycling.

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"By the end of the next parliament, every city in Scotland should have a cycle network designed for commuting.

"But active travel is part of a bigger picture. It should sit alongside a strong public transport system in every part of Scotland."

This year the Scottish Government spent around £100.5m on active travel, working out at roughly 2.5 per cent of the total transport budget.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party had previously committed to maintain this level of funding over the next five years, equating to £500m over the next Parliament

Cycling Scotland say the number of cycling journeys has soared due to the pandemic, being 42 per cent higher between March and August 2020 than the same period in 2019.

The SNP have pledged to provide free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them, and to spend 10 per cent of the transport capital budget on walking, cycling and wheeling.

Encouraging walking and cycling as part of a “green transport revolution”, this investment would only be set for by 2026.

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