Backing for Skye cycle network

John Erskine with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

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An ambitious plan to transform Skye’s cycling and walking network was included in the Scottish Labour Highlands and Islands manifesto.

John Erskine, the Scottish Labour Party candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, met virtually with volunteers from the Skye Cycle Network Project earlier this year to discuss their plans to make cycling safer and more enjoyable on the island.

The project is seeking Scottish Government support for its bid to build a 240km cycling and walking network across the island and use it as a regional blueprint that can be rolled out to other parts of the Highlands and Islands.

The regional manifesto, which was launched by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: ‘There should be more space for cycles on rural and island bus services and on the rail network to make cycling a part of everyday journeys and days out and reduce car dependency.

‘Travel hubs in rural communities would connect shared transport, cycle hire, e-bike charging, safe walking routes and transport information.’

Plans to link the network with the Fort William to Inverness route in the future were also mooted in the document.

Welcoming the commitment, Mr Erskine said: ‘The pandemic has really increased people’s interest in cycling, getting out of their cars and instead choosing active travel options.

‘I’m one of those who started cycling again at the start of lockdown and now I’m really into it. There is a lot of passion for the project locally and a lot of people wanting to get involved in cycling now.

‘I believe the Skye Cyle Network Project would provide a great opportunity to increase active travel for those living on and visiting the island.’

‘The Scottish Government and Highland Council need to be ambitious in tackling the climate emergency and boosting tourism again after the pandemic, encouraging cycling and active travel across the region should be a key part of this.’