Charity calls for transport policy transformation

Istock-505538851 (1)

Friends of the Earth Scotland urges ministers to cut spending on roads. 

5th February 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

An environmental charity is calling for a transformation in Scottish Government spending priorities to tackle the climate emergency.

Ahead of the Scottish Budget, Friends of the Earth (FotE) Scotland urged ministers to prioritise sustainable transport in a bid to slash carbon emissions.

The charity want to see road projects such as the dualling of the A9 and A96 to be halted, with savings passed on to greener travel projects.

FotE Scotland said the Scottish Government has committed over £2.5billion to spending on motorways and trunk roads in the last three budgets.

Meanwhile, bus passenger numbers have fallen by 100 million in the past decade and a target for 10% of journeys to be taken by bicycle by 2020 will almost certainly be missed.

Campaigners are now calling for an extension to free bus travel, support for councils looking to run extra bus routes and increased investment in walking and cycling infrastructure.
Gavin Thomson, FotE Scotland’s air pollution campaigner, said “The world is in the middle of a climate crisis. The Scottish Government has recognised the emergency but now needs to align their spending commitments with their rhetoric. We urgently need to stop burning fossil fuels and road transport is one of our biggest climate polluters.

“Emissions from road transport are higher than they were in 1990. Next to nothing is being done to make the necessary changes to our transport system. The Scottish Government is recklessly spending billions on new roads, which only create more traffic and more emissions, while the total annual budget for walking and cycling is a mere £80 million each year.

“We can't keep spending money on new roads whilst asking people not to drive on them. It defies both climate science and common sense. If we’re looking for the necessary investments to reduce our emissions - we need to look no further than how we travel. This year’s budget must commit to halting all new major road projects and diverting the huge cash saved into public transport, walking and cycling.

“This year’s budget must avoid any more incentives that will prolong the life of the fossil fuel industry. If the Scottish Government isn’t up to this climate challenge, action to end fossil fuel use must be a red line for any opposition parties considering supporting this budget.”