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Up to 75,000 tonnes of emissions saved

Man and child wearing bike helmets
10 December 2015

As COP21 (the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference) talks draw to a close in Paris we reveal the massive greenhouse gas savings from walking and cycling in Scotland.

The benefits for our environment of enabling more people to walk and cycle everyday journeys are enormous. Transport emissions account for a quarter of total Scottish greenhouse gas emissions.

- John Lauder

Our new research shows that there was a potential saving of 75,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from walking and cycling journeys made on the National Cycle Network in 2014. This saving is the equivalent of the annual emissions of up to 24,000 cars.

Figures collected show that the estimated number of walking and cycling trips on the National Cycle Network in Scotland, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, was 121 million in 2014.

Walking and cycling are key to achieving Scotland’s climate change ambitions.

Any saving in greenhouse gas emissions that we can make is brilliant, and when it's one that also benefits people's health - even better.

Commenting on the findings, John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland National Director, said:

“The benefits for our environment of enabling more people to walk and cycle everyday journeys are enormous. For the sake of our environment it’s right that the Scottish Government is investing in walking and cycling – investment that we hope will continue and increase in future years.

“Transport emissions account for a quarter of total Scottish greenhouse gas emissions. It’s clear that enabling people to leave the car at home and get around under their own steam will be crucial to achieving Scotland’s climate change ambitions.”

The challenge is big and to tackle it we need to see big ideas from our politicians.

- Gail Wilson

Big challenges call for big ideas from our politicians.

Gail Wilson, Campaigns Manager of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said:

“Cycling and walking need to become attractive and feasible modes of transport for many more people. Part of that means getting people out of their cars and making alternatives available to them.

“All of Scotland’s political parties have agreed to provide detailed plans for how they’ll build a low carbon transport system for Scotland.

"The election next year will be a key moment to see which parties are serious about tackling huge emissions levels from transport."

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Find out more about our work in Scotland.