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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01901: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 August 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what efforts it makes to encourage (a) its civil servants and (b) other public sector staff to cycle to work.

Answered by: Derek Mackay 8 September 2016

The Scottish Government's vision is of a more active Scotland. Our national Physical Activity Implementation Plan, "A More Active Scotland", includes commitments to support employers to create opportunities for people to be more active during their working day. We are leading by example, taking steps to become an active employer by encouraging physical activity in the workplace and promoting opportunities for staff to travel actively to and from work, and during their working day.

We encourage cycling to work by a range of means. We hold sustainable travel road shows in our main buildings, and we offer personalised travel plans that include active travel options. Twice a year we run a cycle to work scheme to enable staff to buy a bike to ride to work. We provide free cycle maintenance sessions and sheltered and accessible cycle parking, along with lockers, drying and changing facilities and showers. There are clearly marked cycle lanes to access our buildings. We hold the Cycle Friendly Employer award for our Victoria Quay, St Andrew’s House and Saughton House buildings.

The Scottish Government provides grant funding to external bodies to work with all employers to encourage more people to travel actively to work. A number of public and private sector organisations, including the Scottish Government, are participating in a pilot Exemplar Physical Activity Employer (EPAE) Award. Run by NHS Health Scotland, it aims to recognise employers who promote physical activity in the workplace, including active travel.

Central government and health bodies can use an existing Scottish Government collaborative framework for the provision of Voluntary Employee Benefits. As well as employee discounts, the framework provides the salary sacrifice scheme for cycle to work. The framework is used by more than 60 public sector organisations in Scotland. A new framework agreement is now also open to the whole Scottish public sector. It includes provisions for staff who were previously excluded from cycling, by way of access to specially adapted bicycles.