RESULTS from a survey carried out during lockdown show East Lothian Council should invest more to make the county cycling and walking friendly, says a campaign group.

The survey found that, since the Covid-19 lockdown began in late March, many people have been cycling (40 per cent) or walking (77 per cent) four to seven days a week, mainly for exercise or shopping.

Equally, respondents to the survey, which was carried out by the Drem/Gullane Path Campaign group, reported a marked drop in their use of private cars and public transport in lockdown.

Iain Monk, spokesman for the campaign group, said: “The Covid-19 lockdown has seen many more people choosing to cycle and walk for exercise and essential journeys.

“There seems to have been a fundamental shift in attitudes towards travel.

“As our survey results show, because the roads are quieter, residents have been taking advantage of the safer environment.

“It is also clear that people want to keep cycling or walking and expect more active travel choices.

“We need council leaders to make a long-term commitment to invest in permanent infrastructure that will help people cycle and walk safely.”

Of the 279 people questioned, the vast majority expressed a desire to continue walking (87 per cent) and cycling (70 per cent) the same, or even more, once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Eighty nine per cent of people canvassed thought that East Lothian Council should significantly invest more in cycling and walking infrastructure.

Dominic Campanile, general manager of The Old Clubhouse bar and restaurant in Gullane, said: “As a local business, the Old Clubhouse is in no doubt about the positive economic impact of more cycling and walking infrastructure.

“The Covid-19 lockdown has shown that people clearly want more active travel options.

“That is why our business hopes East Lothian Council will look to the future and invest more in active travel infrastructure.”

A spokeswoman for the local authority stressed it “remains committed to identifying and securing active travel options in East Lothian”, building upon previous projects.

She said: “We have delivered a comprehensive path network across the county and, over the past five years, have committed capital funding to sustainable travel options, including the safe link from Gullane to North Berwick.

“We are developing proposals for further projects around East Lothian, and having active travel at the core of local transport infrastructure will be a key priority going forward.

“We are also preparing a bid for funding under the new infrastructure programme Spaces for People, which offers funding and support to councils in Scotland to make it safer for people to walk, cycle or wheel for essential trips and exercise during Covid-19 restrictions.”