How cycling and walking are supported by the Scottish Government budget will be the focus of a Scottish Parliament committee meeting this week (Wednesday 26 September).
The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee panel session will examine what progress the Scottish Government is making towards delivering 10% of all journeys made in Scotland being on bicycle by 2020 and whether the budget for 2013/14 contains sufficient investment to help meet the ambitious targets set.
Witnesses on the panel are:
- Living Streets Scotland Manager, Keith Irving
- SUSTRANS National Director for Scotland, John Lauder
- Cycling Scotland Chief Executive, Ian Aitken
- SCOTS Representative, Phil Noble
- Pedal on Parliament Co-organiser, Dr David Brennan.
The Committee will also explore what impact the budget will have for walking and the pedestrian environment.
The views of witnesses will be considered by the Committee alongside the written evidence it receives following its formal call for evidence due later this week.
This will also cover housing and wider transport and infrastructure aspects of the draft budget. All the evidence assists the Committee in preparing its report on the budget later in November.
The Scottish Government sets out its policies on cycling in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS), which was published in June 2010. The key vision in this document is that 10% of all journeys made in Scotland will be made by bike by 2020.
CAPS commits Transport Scotland, working with partner organisations as appropriate, to 17 specific actions, including completing the missing links in the National Cycle Network. A Cycling Scotland authored progress report on the implementation of CAPS is due but has yet to be published.
The Minister for Transport and Veterans gave some indication of progress during oral evidence to the Committee on 9 May 2012 when he stated that “We are at about 2 per cent across the country, so there is a great deal more to be done” and that he considered “…it has been a difficult target to achieve because it requires a cultural change”.
The key role of the Committee is to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s policies and expenditure in relation to the following matters:
- Capital investment
- Digital infrastructure and broadband
- Fuel poverty and energy assistance
- Scottish Water
- Public procurement.
The Committee also conducts its own inquiries into any matters within its remit.
Budget reports are prepared by the Parliament’s Committees for consideration by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee is due to publish its report on the Scottish Government’s budget in early December.