Ministers unveil national cycling strategy

 

The Government’s 'long-term plan’ for cycling and walking ‘will require patience, persistence and a change in attitudes’, transport minister Robert Goodwill has said.

Ministers have published their Draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, promising ‘to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey’ – by 2040.

The draft strategy sets out plans for £300m of investment over the next five years, much of which has already been allocated, yet also calls for more input from stakeholders. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it is seeking ‘suggestions and evidence of innovative projects and programmes which could be developed to further our goals of: increasing cycling activity; reversing the decline in walking activity; and reducing the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured’.

The DfT said it is also seeking ‘views on the assistance local authorities and local enterprise partnerships would find beneficial to support development of infrastructure plans’. 

”Local
The strategy includes £50 Bikeability training

Among the targets in the strategy, the DfT said it will increase the number of cycle ‘stages’ made each year by 2020 and double the current figure by 2025.

The government has also pledged to reverse the decline in walking activity by 2020. It says it will ‘review whether quantified targets for walking for 2025 are appropriate’.

Joe Irvin, CEO at charity Living Streets, said: ‘The strategy sets ambitions to reverse the decline in walking and to increase the number of children walking to school. But the lack of any measurable target for either is mystifying.

‘Of all ways to travel, walking is the cheapest and most accessible for virtually everyone. Reversing the decline in walking would cut traffic jams and improve the nation’s health. Government action needs to happen now.'

The financial resources set out in the strategy include £50m for training through the Bikeability scheme, the remaining £101m of the Cycle Ambition Cities programme, £85m through Highways England and £80m revenue from the access fund for sustainable transport.

The strategy says announcements on the access fund and the Local Growth Fund, which include a theoretical £500m capital funding for sustainable transport projects, ‘will be made during 2016’.  

When the DfT announced the first £20m from the revenue access fund last month, it said delaying the full launch of the fund would give it ‘time to publish the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy’. 

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘Realising our ambition will take sustained investment in cycling and walking infrastructure. That’s why we have committed over £300m to support cycling and walking over this Parliament and this will increase further when spending on enhancing and maintaining existing infrastructure is taken into account.

‘Delivering this long-term plan will require patience, persistence and a change in attitudes – amongst government, local bodies, businesses, communities and individuals. We cannot afford not to grasp the opportunities available and we are determined to make this country a cycling and walking nation, comparable to the very best in the world.’

 

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