Campaigners call for secure funding for cycling and walking

Six campaigning organisations have joined forces to support amendments to the Infrastructure Bill in order to force the Government to plan for much greater investment in cycling and walking.

h3. Safeguard and boost investment in cycling and walking

The suggested amendment to the Bill proposes an investment plan similar to the one used for the railways, which has contributed to the increase in rail traffic to the levels of the 1920s.

The six organisations backing the amendment are the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), British Cycling, the Campaign for Better Transport, CTC, Living Streets, and Sustrans.

The amendment is due to be tabled by lords Berkeley and Judd when the House of Lords returns from the summer recess.

The amendment would require the Government to publish a binding Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and answer to Parliament if the strategy was not fulfilled.

Cycling and walking are at great risk of losing the meagre funds they receive as transport funds are diverted to major road building and other large infrastructure projects. This amendment would ensure they get the funding they need.

h3. Demand for £10 per head minimum

Last year, the All Party parliamentary Group called for a minimum spend of £10 per person on cycling, rising to £20 as cycle use goes up. This would help to increase cycle levels from 2% of all trips to 15% by 2025, rising to 25% by 2050.

The Group’s recommendations published in the Get Britain Cycling report received a unanimous vote of support in a parliamentary debate in September 2013, attended by around 100 MPs.

The Commons Transport Committee echoed the report’s conclusions in July this year, calling for ‘a steady and planned increase in per-capita funding for cycling’ from the current £2 to £10 per head by 2020.

Ralph Smyth, Senior Transport Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the organisation leading on campaigning for the amendment, said: “The combination of a tripling of spending on road-building, further cuts to local authorities and an end to ring-fenced budgets for sustainable travel will squeeze investment in walking and cycling. England desperately needs to catch up with neighbouring countries and make physically active forms of travel the norm for everyday journeys. But the funding picture is now so bleak, we risk not just huffing and puffing but actually dropping out of the race.”

Roger Geffen, Campaigns & Policy Director at CTC, the national cycling charity, said: “Investing in better cycling conditions is an incredibly cost-effective solution not only for tackling congestion and physical inactivity, but also for creating safer, pleasanter streets and communities and a healthier environment for all. It also costs peanuts compared with mega-road projects. We really need to rethink our transport spending priorities on local solutions which benefit everyone, whether or not they choose to cycle.”

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