Ramblers Scotland has welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government’s physical activity plan, A More Active Scotland – Building a Legacy from the Commonwealth Games, and the ‘Fit in 14’ campaign which forms part of the plan and encourages workplaces to be more active, but raised questions over funding.
The long term approach taken by the government for a 10-year plan with milestones after a year and five years is good news and the plan is a key step in delivering the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy.
By 2024, Glasgow and other Scottish cities need to be as good as the leading cities in Europe in terms of active travel, with walking or cycling being the easiest and the first choice of transport for short journeys.
Funding, however, remains a key issue. “It is difficult to see how this step-change in behaviour will be achieved without a similar fundamental change in the Scottish Government’s transport policy and budget” said Dave Morris, Director of Ramblers Scotland.
The current level of spending on walking and cycling is around 1% of the transport budget. Ramblers Scotland would like to see the government match the City of Edinburgh Council’s commitment to spend 5% of its transport budget on active travel, with an increase of 1% year on year.
The Scottish Government has described the 2014 Commonwealth Games as an “unparalleled opportunity” to get the Scottish nation more active, but without appropriate funding the ambition risks being no more than wishful thinking.
“It is only by this long term financial commitment that any real, accelerated change can be delivered, to the benefit of everyone’s health,” explained Dave. “Otherwise we will be stuck in the slow lane and the government’s statement will be no more than wishful thinking.”
“The Commonwealth Games legacy will only be delivered if all government departments are on board," warned Dave. “The First Minister must ensure that all are pulling in support of those ministers and officials who are leading the efforts to make Scotland a world leader in physical activity and sport by 2024.”