Policy and Data: February update

Our Policy and Data team offer an exciting update on the progress we’re making to influence a happier, healthier and greener Scotland.

Paths for All policy update

This month, we responded to nine consultations, relating to a range of policy areas including planning and land use, sustainable transport, health and wellbeing and road safety. Details of some of the key responses are shared below.

The main political background this month was the Scottish Budget. Scottish Parliament passed the budget bill on Tuesday, 27 February.

The budget for active travel will rise significantly. In the face of very constrained public finances, we work hard to support projects, initiatives and consultations which encourage communities to walk, wheel and cycle more. Work to improve conditions for walking, wheeling and cycling will continue to receive major new investment.

That said, funding for active travel will not meet the Scottish Government’s Bute House Agreement commitment “that by 2024-25 at least £320m or 10% of the total transport budget will be allocated to active travel”. The active travel budget is £100 million short of this.


Consultations responded to:


The City of Edinburgh Council Workplace Parking Levy (WPL)

In 2019 Transport Scotland introduced a new law to enable councils in Scotland to introduce a fee for workplace parking in their local area. The money raised, by law, must be invested in improving local transport. The City of Edinburgh were looking for feedback from individuals, households and from businesses, to help inform their future decision making.

We welcomed the introduction of a workplace parking levy, as a progressive intervention that would support efforts to address inequalities in health and transport, and the climate emergency.

Read the full consultation response here.


Scottish Government Wellbeing and Sustainable Development (Scotland) Bill

Scottish Government gathered views around improving decision making and implementation of the National Performance Framework with the aim to ensure that improvements to the wellbeing of people in Scotland is the focus of all policy and delivery.

Our view was that statutory definitions of both “wellbeing” and “sustainable development” were needed, as the terms are being used more often without a clear common understanding. Both have clear connections to our priorities as an organisation. We broadly support the aims of legislation including such a definition, we await further details of this and how proposals would be implemented.  

Read the full consultation response here.


Active Travel Strategy and Action Plan for Fife

Fife council has set out an Active Travel Strategy and Action Plan for Fife as a vision for the next 10 years. The plan includes a network of routes, and a series of actions points for improvements that could be made.

We agreed that improvements to neighbourhood links as well as key and local routes to connect communities is necessary, but that relying on shared use paths for both people on bikes and those walking or wheeling might not be the best approach.

Read the full consultation response here.


Do you want to get involved? There’s still time for you to respond.


Engaging in public consultations related to your community, or topics you have an interest in, is a great way to ensure that decisions made by local government or other organisations, take into account as much information, local knowledge and informed opinions as possible. The key bodies of work on the horizon for us include the following:


Transport Scotland are looking for feedback on draft guidance that has been developed to support the inclusive design of town centres and busy streets. It includes principles relating to inclusive engagement for street design, and physical design measures for inclusive design. The consultation closes Friday, 29th March. 

We intend to respond in support of any efforts to make our public places more accessible for everyone to walk or wheel in.

Have your say here


West Dunbartonshire Council is planning an Active Travel Strategy, and want it to be “evidence-led, shaped by the needs and desires of those with an interest in West Dunbartonshire”. The online survey to share your thoughts closes Sunday, 31 March. 

We intend to respond by voicing our support of the desire to capture what barriers people in the area are facing to getting around actively, and the benefits of this.

Have your say here


Wider policy work


Our Walkpedia website contains key sources of information and evidence relating to walking, pedestrians, and active travel and we update it every month. This month’s new additions include:

Car harm: A global review of automobility's harm to people and the environment
The Local Intelligence Hub
Results from a five-year longitudinal travel survey in Outer London


This month, Ewa Monteith-Hodge, our Information and Data Monitoring Officer, explored the key findings of the 2022 Scottish Household survey, and how they positively influence our work to get communities moving more. Read the blog here.


Looking ahead, we’re excited to be attending launch events for the 2023 Walking and Cycling Index results from Sustrans in March, and we’ll be sharing a detailed look at the 2022 results of the Scottish Health Survey that were launched last year.