Scotland and Wales active travel plans

  |   Uncategorised



Monday the 25th April



 Introduction from Ruth Cadbury MP


  • Welcome everyone to the third APPGCW meeting of the year. We have just held our AGM, and have some exciting plans for this year.


  • Today we are fortunate to be joined by Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Active Travel in the Scottish Government and Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change in the Welsh Government.


  • They will talk about their respective plans for active travel, with time for questions at the end. Please post questions in the Q+A box, not the chat box


Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Active Travel in the Scottish Government


  • Attending two days after a successful pedal on Parliament event on the Scottish Parliament to demonstrate the keen appetite to make progress on this agenda.

  • Would like to highlight some themes on choice, delivery and leadership.

  • Pandemic did force a re-think on travel and our urban environment. Has allowed people to discover new ways to interact with their neighbourhoods.

  • The political choices made in the decades before has made that difficult. Location of shops and public services and the layout of streets – and the sheer volume of traffic that we have generated.

  • These things can make cycling feel like a difficult choice.

  • Lots of people have said they relish the opportunity to walk, wheel and cycle more but some people feel unsafe doing so.

  • Active Travel choices are not simple binary choices. Job is to make the political choices and personal choices come together and support one another.

  • Biggest ever budget for active travel in Scotland’s history. Increased to £150m in this financial year.

  • Some choices to be made in achieving targets will be politically challenging but keen to do them.

  • Doubling investment in the national cycling network will deliver the connected network which is so important.

  • We need to continue to support e-bikes, including adapted and non-standard bikes.

  • Also continue to support bike fixing vouchers.

  • We have seen where people support active travel or targets in principle, and then stand in the way of individual projects.

  • Too often we see delay.

  • Clear and consistent leadership is important so that people can choose to walk, wheel or cycle more often.

  • Choices about who gets more road space, choices around speed and safety, and achieving sustained reduction in traffic levels.

  • Choice, delivery and leadership are all the key things to consider. Wants Scotland to be a place in which walking, wheeling or cycling are the first choice for people when travelling.


 Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change in the Welsh Government.


  • Used to be the Welsh director Sustrans for some time. Now Minister responsible for Active Travel.

  • There is a Ministry for Climate Change which covers a broad range of areas.

  • Setting up delivery mechanisms for active travel.

  • Move to make 20mph default in all residential areas – huge piece of work at the moment.

  • Also trying to get authority to fine pavement parking.

  • Now also have a modal shift target for transport.

  • Are taking a systematic approach. Now a law which says all Highway Authorities have to come up with a network of routes and refresh that every 3 years.

  • Things to learn from that, other parts of the country are taking a different approach.

  • Increasing spending as well – money helps but it is not just about money. One of the challenges is the capacity for local authorities to deliver.

  • Want to reward ambition – where local authorities are able to act then they should be given more money to do more.

  • Have created an entire ecosystem for active travel.

  • There is disparity in local authorities with some being very proactive and some not.

  • Likes the idea of planning for a real model.

  • Have also used the commonplace system in the past.

  • There are also some things that they struggle with, there is a long way to go.

  • E-bikes offer a new route for people who may not get onto bikes.

  • They do not have a voucher scheme for e-bikes, but target it at lower income communities. Piloting in 4 deprived communities, and picked areas with lots of hills to see if this would shift modal used. Also trying e-cargo bike pilots.

  • Will be monitoring all of those closely.

  • Have some a long way in a short period, but climate changes means we can’t hang around.

  • Freeing up of money needs to go into active travel, and you need local leadership urgently.


 Q and A


  • Ruth Cabdury MP – Would Patrick be able to speak to challenges with Local Authorities or any tricks which have been useful in bringing round local authorities or leaders.

    • Patrick: Some of the more rural local authorities have seen cycling as leisure rather than transport. Lee is right in saying that there are some local authorities who are not even on square one yet.

    • Community leadership can be really important and powerful. It is a very live discussion, does not have a magic solution but giving power to local community level so that those communities who want to see change can try and enact change from one angle.

    • Workplace parking levy exists in England – have just legislated for allowing councils to consider this. Has been lept on by other political parties as though it is a war on motorists.

    • There is no single perfect answer but do need everyone to be working together.


  • Active and sustainable travel for rural areas. How do you get funding into those areas?

    • Lee: All rural areas have towns and all towns have lots of small journeys. Want to map corridors between towns. That is hard and some local authorities do not have the capacity.

    • E-bikes could be very good for rural cycling – but then you also need to have the infrastructure as well.

    • Patrick: Sometimes can get connected pushback from rural areas. Insistence that cars are required. Everyone across the political spectrum is keen to address the cost of living crisis. Rural communities should be the priority, people are often paying more for their transport.




  • Lee: Funding is the issue. If you want someone to leave the car behind then you need to make sure bikes are available and that they work.

  • Patrick: Powers are not the issue, but personally question about delivery model. Need to talk about the space for e-scooters and how that is going to continue to develop. Hire schemes could be good at giving people their first access at trying out a range of other vehicles.

  • Don’t have a clear sense of how we want to regulate those vehicles and use different types of space.


Ruth: What can Parliamentarians do?


  • Patrick: For a long time we thought about transport in the same way we do economic growth – more is better. But now we need to talk about demand reduction, no one would have a talk about waste management without talking about reducing waste.

  • Talk about offer people a different way of meeting their needs than more of the same and building another road or cutting fuel prices.

  • Need to be using soft power to move away from this. Still have this language around ‘war on motorists’ as if it is a real thing.

  • Using political culture to change expectations as to what transport policy is and what it is for.

  • Was only in post for a few months before FOI requests came in about how many times he had used a private car – and the answer was none.

  • Need to get to grips with what transport policy is for.


  • Lee: Challenges we face in different parts of the UK are very similar.

  • Things that all nations can learn from each other so good to keep the conversations going. People will do what the easy thing to do is, we have made it easy to jump in the car and difficult to get on a bus or cycle.

  • You simply cannot tackle climate change without changing this.

  • Wales used to have a very poor recycling level but they have made it easy and now has improved.

  • For too long cycling has been seen as an eccentric act. But now in London and Cardiff it has become mainstream, and hopefully we will see a ripple effect from that.


Closing remarks from Selaine Saxby MP


  • Upcoming meetings and events:

  • 23rd May at 16:30 – meeting with Baroness Vere, on road safety and active travel, in association with the APPG on Transport Safety


< Meeting with Trudy Harrison MPMeeting with Baroness Vere >