Policy Matters

Some of you may have seen that Cycling Scotland released its assessment of local authorities’ cycling policies yesterday (I’m sure the people of Dumfries speak of nothing else). Naturally we turned to the section for Dumfries and Galloway to see how the council scores.

Assessment of Dumfries and Galloway council

Could do better…

Interestingly, when it comes to the number of people cycling to work, Dumfries and Galloway scores surprisingly high – nationally only 5% of Scots cycle to work. Considering how rural the area is, that’s pretty impressive. But the council scores below average on planning, monitoring and understanding users and stakeholders (by which we take they mean ‘people’). The latest figures from Spokes also show that the council is not spending much of its own money on cycling – and even with Sustrans spending included managed to spend just £1.30 per person on cycling last year (the average is £3.83).

So what should the council should be doing? Well here’s what Cycling Scotland recommend


  • ensuring buy-in and participation from councillors
  • exploring integration of cycling within procurement and contracts
  • establishing a cycling strategy or action plan
  • including cycling across policy areas and strategies
  • ensuring consideration of cycling within development control
  • considering all types of cycling
  • linking cycling and public transport
  • emphasising ‘place’ in built environment and land-use policies
  • gathering knowledge of cycle user needs
  • committing capital and revenue funding


  • recruiting cycle trainers and cycle training assistants
  • delivering on-road cycle training
  • monitoring cycle training
  • ensuring access to cycle training for adults
  • utilising cycle audit and review of transport infrastructure
  • ensuring consistent cycle route maintenance and inspection
  • establishing and updating cycling network plans (on-road and off-road)
  • providing trip-end cycle facilities


  • cycling in the single outcome Agreement
  • establishing cycling indicators
  • co-ordinating cycling data
  • understanding perceptions of cycling
  • monitoring and evaluation of cycling

I think any regular visitor to this site would recognise a fair few of those.

We hope that this report encourages the council to improve – and we’d be delighted to help out with any of those points we can, particularly the planning side of things. We look forward to seeing a much improved report card next time.

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