Given below is the content of an e-mail which I sent to Marco Biagi MSP via WriteToThem.com.
Marco Biagi MSP
Wednesday 2 November 2011
Active travel is a great idea as it achieves so many policy objectives: it is clean, it is green, it reduces congestion in towns and cities, and it is healthy (active people, such as regular cyclists, live longer). In addition, people who use active ways of travel to get to work are more productive, and it is relatively cheap and therefore has great potential to save money (the future savings in health cost alone make it worthwhile).
So can you explain why the Scottish National Party is reneging on it’s manifesto commitments?
The SNP election manifesto, promised to “increase the proportion of transport spending on … active and sustainable travel.” (see pages 8 and 37-39) and yet the current budget proposals will cut £15m from the funding for cycling and walking while at the same time dramatically increasing spending on trunk roads and motorways. This is the opposite of the manifesto promises made by your party before the last election.
Before you try to tell me this is an issue for local authorities only, it is not! It is the Scottish government which has which has set a target for 10% of trips to be by bicycle by 2020, included this target as a ‘milestone’ in its RPP plan to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions, and included this target in its national strategy to combat obesity.
It is completely unreasonable for the government to set targets, particularly such ambitious ones, and then not provide a realistic level of funds towards meeting these targets. The setting of such ambitious targets, which will benefit the Scottish people as a whole, is to be applauded. However, this is an issue of funding and not about how to carry out changes on the ground, without the funding the rest is empty rhetoric.
If you are genuinely interested in making Scotland a better place to live then you should be urging your fellow MSP to stick by the commitments made in the SNP election manifesto to increase the proportion of transport spending on active and sustainable travel.
Addendum: 22nd November 2011 I am still waiting for a formal reply to the e-mail I sent to Marco Biagi MSP, which I would expect as a matter of common curtsy. So far the only response has been on Twitter, “You’ve already seen reply on this issue because SPOKES published it. Meanwhile been asking pqs and meeting gov. Working on it.”
Later in the day I received a reply, see here.