A note on the General Election

We will not be running a Walk Cycle Vote campaign for this snap general election – we rely largely on voluntary efforts, and coming on top of an intense local election it was not possible to muster the resources again.

Besides, with transport largely being a devolved matter, there’s little that our Westminster MPs can do to make a difference to walking and cycling in Scotland, although Westminster policies will have a significant impact on conditions for walking and cycling south of the border.

However, even though we won’t be collating candidate this election or canvassing their policies, that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth raising active travel yourself with your own candidates.

To help with this, our briefing note and our social media tools are all here, for you to use and share over the next few weeks.

Briefing note:

Briefing page 1 Briefing page 2

Material to share on social media:

wcv_congestion wcv_miracle_cure wcv_return_on_investment wcv_congestion_2 wcv_safespaces_2 wcv_shopping wcv_inactivity

wcv_childhood_independence_2 wcv_climate_change

It’s All Over Bar the Voting

Tomorrow is the local elections and with all but possibly a handful of last-minute responses in, we thought we’d give you a final look at the responses we’ve had over the past few weeks of campaigning (we already covered the manifestos, in case you missed it).

FIRST we’d like to start by thanking all of you who have emailed, tweeted, facebooked and otherwise taken the time to get in touch with your candidates – it’s makes a big difference as to whether we get a response and even if the answers aren’t quite what we’d want, it still means that candidates have had to think about where they stand on active travel – and also that they know it’s important to at least some of their voters.

Response by local authority

Overall (at the time of writing) we have had 444 of 2569 candidates who responded in one way or another to our asks – just over 17%. We never, sadly, got a reply from a candidate in Shetland (although we did hear from 4 in Orkney). At the other end of the scale, almost half of all candidates standing for election in Edinburgh have responded followed by Aberdeen (after a late surge!) at 32.7%, Dundee at 27.5%, East Lothian at 27.3% and East Renfrewshire at 27.3%. With strong support also in Dumfries and Galloway, Aberdeenshire and Fife, it’s not just council candidates in urban areas who see the benefit in active travel.

Looking at the responses by party the picture has changed a little from our update a week ago:

share of candidates responding by party

The Greens are still well out in front, with two-thirds of all Green party candidates having taken the time to get in touch and give their response. The Lib Dems have pulled into second place, at 18.1%, followed by Labour at 17.4%, the Tories at 14.2% and the SNP at 13.3%.

When it comes to the level of support for each of our three asks, the differences have widened slightly on the investment question, with the Tories most likely to be cautious about committing themselves to a figure of 10%, followed by Labour.

candidates supporting our investment ask
Share of all candidates by party who fully or partially supported our call for investment in active travel of 10% of the transport budget

Infrastructure suitable for all ages and abilities attracted the most wholehearted support

Share of candidates supporting our infrastructure ask
Share of all candidates by party who fully or supported our call for infrastructure suitable for all ages and all abilities

And removing local barriers remains somewhere between the two.

share of candidates supporting our local barrier ask
Share of all candidates by party fully or partially supporting the removal of local barriers to walking and cycling

Don’t forget to get the final picture of where your individual candidates stand here – which will also allow you to see the relevant local manifesto commitments where available.

So now, all that remains is for all of us to complete the third part of our campaign name and actually go out and vote tomorrow!

Reading the party manifestos so you don’t have to

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Just a matter of hours before Scotland goes to the polls, and we’ve been working to see where individual parties stand on walking and cycling:

There are 32 local councils in Scotland. We looked for manifestos from the five main parties at the Scotland-wide level, as well as at the manifestos in each council area, totalling a possible 165 manifestos in total.

Manifestos from the parties nationally

Looking at Parties’ HQ manifestos, only the Scottish Greens have supported our 1st and principal ask on investment that 10% of transport budgets be spent on walking and cycling. They have promised to:

“Push for councils to allocate at least 10% of their transport budget to walking and cycling, to create new and safer routes including paths separated from roads.”

However, all five major parties made some helpful nods in the direction of active travel which touched on our 2nd and 3rd asks around safe infrastructure and tackling local problems around active travel, as follows:

SNP: “SNP Councils will support active travel and encourage people to switch to cycling as a viable and enjoyable means of commuting.” Read the Scotland-wide  SNP manifesto for local elections at http://bit.ly/2oBdpPw

Labour: “In Scotland, only one per cent of all trips are made by bike and 23 per cent are made on foot. As well as providing good quality, affordable public transport we also want to see more investment in active travel, not just to improve people’s transport choices, but to improve people’s health and wellbeing, and make our communities safer” Read the Scotland-wide Labour manifesto: http://bit.ly/2p06q5U

Conservatives: “Active travel is not only the most affordable and, for many, accessible form of travel, it has clear bene ts for the environment as well as physical and mental health. Local authorities, in partnership with central government and the third sector should work towards improving their local walking and cycle path network…. As an overarching aim, we should work towards providing at least one segregated cycle route in each of Scotland’s seven cities, linking from outer city limits through city centres.” Read the Scotland-wide Conservative manifesto: http://bit.ly/2oHbZ6M

Liberal Democrats: “Potholes cause accidents to pedestrians and cyclists, rough roads destroy the comfort of bus and car journeys alike, while constant ad hoc road repair works are an inconvenience and a drag on the economy….. [We Will] Introduce modern and innovative designs for local streetscapes to make residential streets places for walking, talking and playing…” Read the Liberal Democrat Manifesto at http://bit.ly/2p5o30Q

Scottish Greens: “Scottish Greens want to improve our buses, make walking and cycling more attractive, and make our streets safe and healthy for everyone to use.” Read the Greens’ manifesto at http://bit.ly/2pXsgbT

Individual local authority party manifestos: where do your parties stand?

In reality, we were only able to locate 47 local authority party manifestos across Scotland – many local councils chose not to issue manifestos, and unfortunately in some cases, there were news stories about a given party’s manifesto but with no link to the actual manifesto!

So, of the 47 local authority party manifestos that we could get our hands on, 12 fully supported, and 2 partially supported our ask on

Investment: provide sustained, long term investment in both cycling and walking, reaching 10% of the transport budget

We have divided our analysis into three categories: Partially supportive, fully supportive, and “above-and-beyond” supportive, as follows:

Manifesto commitments on investment
Manifesto commitments on investment – click for a larger verison

In terms of our second and third asks on infrastructure and local action, 31 of the 52 local authority party manifestos which we could find made some sort of reference to these asks, from helpful nods towards active travel as important modes of transport right through to fully fledged and developed policies to put active travel at the heart of transport policies. The asks are:

  • Infrastructure: Build and maintain dedicated cycling infrastructure, suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Local action: To solve the main local barriers to active travel, as identified by residents and businesses

The following table outlines the sorts of things we picked up in individual manifestos.

Manifesto commitments on infrastructure and removal of local barriers - click for a larger version
Manifesto commitments on infrastructure and removal of local barriers – click for a larger version

Don’t forget to walk or cycle to your polling station tomorrow and make your vote count!