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Cycling minister tells road.cc it's up to local councils to lift cycle funding above £1.39 per head per year...

The government’s cycling minister has reiterated to road.cc it’s up to local authorities to bring cycle funding up to £10 per head per year through a variety of funding schemes, after central government cycling investment is set to plummet to £1.39 per person per year from next month.

For local authorities wanting to reach £10 per head per year, the amount widely recognised as the minimum to begin building decent cycle infrastructure in the UK, the remaining £8.61 will have to be found by “scrabbling for scraps”, warns CTC, the national cycling charity. It says without government leadership cash strapped local councils are unlikely to prioritise cycling.

When asked how much will be set aside to implement the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, cycling minister, Robert Goodwill, referred to Highways England’s existing trunk road cycle proofing programme and “discretionary funding” that local authorities will have to bid for. He said he’s “very optimistic” local communities will decide to invest in cycling, insisting all the evidence suggests local councils understand cycling’s importance.  

New £580m ‘Access’ fund means annual cycle funding remains well short of £10 per head target

Goodwill, told road.cc: “You’ll be aware that the government’s agenda is all about devolving power to local government to local people, to Local Enterprise Partnerships, and so in many ways by devolving that decision making we’re giving them the responsibility to deliver cycling infrastructure.

“All the experience we have from local sustainable transport schemes, some of our other local-based projects, is that there is almost always an element of cycling in those, so I’m confident those decisions will be made to ensure that cycling is part of their delivery”.  

He added, however, “You can’t devolve power and then tell them what to do with the money”.

An announcement is due on the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in the spring. The Strategy requires that government sets aside funds to achieve set goals but the CTC says at the moment there is no evidence this will exceed £1.39 per year. 

Goodwill said the £1.39 figure cited by CTC, which includes the Highways England cycle proofing and Bikeability funds, was calculated with the assumption city regions and combined authorities decide not to invest in cycling.

He added: “All the evidence is that local decision makers understand the importance of cycling in the same way that central government understands the importance of cycling.”

He said local cycling champions and campaigners will keep local authorities “up to speed” if they don’t already understand the environmental, health and congestion-relieving benefits of cycling.

However Sam Jones, Campaigns Coordinator at CTC, said without leadership from government cash-strapped councils are unlikely to prioritise cycling.

"Both the Prime Minister and Cycle Minister have said they want to see funding for cycling at £10 per head. The reality is that after the £5.52 cycling has had per head for 2015/16, if you're not a Londoner you'll lose out, as funding plummets to £1.39 per head for cycling and walking,” he said.

"Saying local authorities can make up the remaining £8.61 by scrabbling for scraps through a variety of funding schemes which are open to other programmes beyond cycling and walking is not the answer. Such a message hardly demonstrates Governmental commitment or leadership. Without these, cash strapped local authorities are unfortunately not going to be prioritising cycle provision.

"We've seen the success of measures such as the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and the Cycling City Ambition Grants - dedicated funding for sustainable travel works. That's why CTC believes Government should look to reallocate some of the £15bn road investment fund towards dedicated funding for cycling."

14 comments

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jasecd [403 posts] 7 months ago
7 likes

This is what happens when you vote in a Tory government driven by free market ideology. Austerity is a sham and they are gradually removing or privatising our public services one by  one. This lack of funding is a very small piece of a much bigger, much more distasteful puzzle.

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wycombewheeler [735 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
jasecd wrote:

This is what happens when you vote in a Tory government driven by free market ideology. Austerity is a sham and they are gradually removing or privatising our public services one by  one. This lack of funding is a very small piece of a much bigger, much more distasteful puzzle.

Yes, we should have everything we want now and leave the bills to our children. Despite Labour being in power through the biggest boom 8n the past 50 years they still passed on yhe biggest national debt. You can only spend what you have.

Much as I want better cycle provision, it would bd one area I would accept cuts when money is not available for everything.

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Chougher [3 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

You can only spend what you have.

Nice AstroTurf job there. It's excellent to see that any discussion of serious matters can be quickly devolved down to a "they're behind you" pantomime level debate.  Well done guys; two comments has to be a record .

 

if you were going to talk seriously about this, you might ask how councils are going to find time to prioritise applying for these funding pools, and that the lack of national direction is going to mean that cycling provision will now be a postcode lottery. 

 

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mrmo [2088 posts] 7 months ago
6 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:
jasecd wrote:

This is what happens when you vote in a Tory government driven by free market ideology. Austerity is a sham and they are gradually removing or privatising our public services one by  one. This lack of funding is a very small piece of a much bigger, much more distasteful puzzle.

Yes, we should have everything we want now and leave the bills to our children. Despite Labour being in power through the biggest boom 8n the past 50 years they still passed on yhe biggest national debt. You can only spend what you have. Much as I want better cycle provision, it would bd one area I would accept cuts when money is not available for everything.

 

Or you could see through the tory dogma, ever heard the concept of investment and joined up thinking? Invest in active travel and save the NHS money, Invest in active travel and reduce the levels of pollution, the wear and tear on out streets. 

 

Despite what the right wing media might want you to believe tax in the UK is very low, and you do get what you pay for. If you are happy with s**t infrastructure and roads that are falling apart carry on as you are, if you want to see a better country then it is going to cost money. 

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ChairRDRF [309 posts] 7 months ago
8 likes

There isn't actually much difference between the two main parties here. Both have consistently supported more motoring with road building programmes. The current Government and its predecessor cut the fuel tax accelerator and we now have a particulalrly big road building programme - the CTC are absolutely correct to argue for taking money for cycling out of this £15 billion.

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Lycra Lout [29 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:
jasecd wrote:

This is what happens when you vote in a Tory government driven by free market ideology. Austerity is a sham and they are gradually removing or privatising our public services one by  one. This lack of funding is a very small piece of a much bigger, much more distasteful puzzle.

Yes, we should have everything we want now and leave the bills to our children. Despite Labour being in power through the biggest boom 8n the past 50 years they still passed on yhe biggest national debt. You can only spend what you have. Much as I want better cycle provision, it would bd one area I would accept cuts when money is not available for everything.

 

Congratulations on being so gullable you believe everything the Tory press tell you. Austerity is a con. By the way, the current Government will leave behind a far bigger debt.

Even if it weren't a con, cycle infrastructure still pays for itself, so you are making a terrible decision by not funding it, the same way the the Tories were idiots to cut flood defence funding and HMRC funding. 

Avatar
jasecd [403 posts] 7 months ago
4 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:
jasecd wrote:

This is what happens when you vote in a Tory government driven by free market ideology. Austerity is a sham and they are gradually removing or privatising our public services one by  one. This lack of funding is a very small piece of a much bigger, much more distasteful puzzle.

Yes, we should have everything we want now and leave the bills to our children. Despite Labour being in power through the biggest boom 8n the past 50 years they still passed on yhe biggest national debt. You can only spend what you have. Much as I want better cycle provision, it would bd one area I would accept cuts when money is not available for everything.

 

As every subsequent comment has made clear - you don't really get it. Every country's governemnt issues bonds to finance a whole range of public spending. Even the extremely conservative IMF have questioned why the UK is not borrowing to spur growth in our economy when the cost of doing so is currently very cheap. Investment in the right infrastructure can see a positive return to the exchequer, negating it's cost. Cycling facilities can see a 500%+ return: http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/dft-discovers-cycling-s-benefit-to-cost...

The Tories use austerity as an excuse to drive through their ideology - the idea that running an economy is like a household budget is laughable and their shameless reductionism is ridiculous. Their decisions are political rather than pragmatic and our public services wither and die as a result. It's shameful and it's no surprise that cycling provision gets lost in this mess.

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HarrogateSpa [379 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

Much as I want better cycle provision, it would bd one area I would accept cuts when money is not available for everything. 

I disagree with this point of view very strongly. For decades, motorised travel has been prioritised, and funded in a money-no-object way, while cycling has been ignored.

We know that fear of traffic puts a large percentage of British people off cycling. We desperately need investment in cycling infrastructure to redress the balance, get people cycling, and reap the rewards of better health, and less congestion and pollution.

Instead, we're getting £15bn of road investment, and precious little dedicated cycling money, and the response from wycombewheeler is 'oh, I don't mind, it's fine.' How are we ever going to make a case for cycling investment if even keen cyclists just roll over in such a pusillanimous way?

Come on, let's make a rational analysis of the situtation, realise we need cycling investment, then get some backbone and argue our case.

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lushmiester [189 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

<blockquote> You’ll be aware that the government’s agenda is all about devolving power to local government to local people, to Local Enterprise Partnerships, and so in many ways by devolving that decision making we’re giving them the responsibility to deliver cycling infrastructure - </blockquote>

The key words are responsibility, decision agenda and power.

The agenda may well be about shifting decision making to a local level and an attempt to shift perception of responsibility to that level. However, power is another thing if central government continues to hold the purse strings and use contentious formula to distribute resources to those areas (places) it likes, then the power remains with central government and morally the responsibility. Ultimately it is Government behaving as an occupying force the classic Pontius Pilate act although this is being done with fiscal policy rather than the granting of reprieves.

Whilst cycling infrastructure is not the only area to experience this but is one were the effects are going to be most keenly felt; it takes considerable time to develop infrastructure especially without a centrally funded framework to work within. Social attitudes are towards cost, ease, comfort, safety and change are far more engrained and personally felt at the local level making it harder for councils to implement significant changes or to coordinate across councils. The result will be a very poor mishmash of infrastructure. In commuter areas the question will be why should we develop cycling infrastructure for people to pass through when they are not contributing bla bla bla! The only solution would be to make them legally responsible injury were infrastructure is seen to be inadequate and no government is going to do that, it would only serve to throw into highlight the funding issue and the sham that is devolving responsibility without resources and power.

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Wolfshade [191 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I agree that more money should be provided on cycling infrastructure. I am not entirely convinced that it should be out of the £15Bn roads investment fund. Indeed, that is not going to happen given that Highways England have already allocated the funding over the next four years. I think that there are benefits to giving these transport agencies extended budgets over a number of years as it enables efficiencies and control of the roads that wasn't there previously.

I would also note that the £15Bn over a total of 5 years is just the money spent by central government in England. It does not include any spending on local roads (for local people) or anything in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. (A fact that seems to have been overlooked).

In the idea of prevention being better than cure then certainly  one should be looking at why there is no money coming from the much larger NHS fund currently at £116.4Bn rising to £133.1Bn. In 2013 the cost to the NHS of physical inactivity in England was estimated at £0.9Bn so why isn't NHS funding cycling/walking/equestrian routes?

The other issue is that I don't think that a national body really should be funding cycling. 56% of all car journeys (and 66% of all journeys) are under 5 miles. These are almost exclusively going to be falling within one local authority's network. Which really suggests that this provision should be from a local council perspective.

 

 

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mrmo [2088 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
Wolfshade wrote:

I agree that more money should be provided on cycling infrastructure. I am not entirely convinced that it should be out of the £15Bn roads investment fund. Indeed, that is not going to happen given that Highways England have already allocated the funding over the next four years. I think that there are benefits to giving these transport agencies extended budgets over a number of years as it enables efficiencies and control of the roads that wasn't there previously.

 

If roads are the domain of the department of TRANSPORT, then there is only one place for the money to come from that has any real meaning and that would indicate a real change of mindset. Cycle provision has to be handled the same way as roads, a mix of local councils and central government. Certain standards to maintain etc. 

If you want to provide links between urban centres who is to set the framework? You don't see motorways going from lefthand to righthand lane as you cross a council boundary. you don't see phoneboxes in the middle of a carriageway.

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Duncann [645 posts] 7 months ago
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mrmo wrote:

If roads are the domain of the department of TRANSPORT

Local roads (98% of the network) are under the direct control of local authorities and largely funded by un-ring-fenced grants. DfT chips in for new roads and some structural maintenance, mostly via Local Enterprise Partnerships (in which local authorities are major players). General maintenance is supposed to be funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government grant - but that can be spend on lots of things.

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Duncann [645 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
jasecd wrote:

This is what happens when you vote in a Tory government driven by free market ideology. Austerity is a sham and they are gradually removing or privatising our public services one by  one. This lack of funding is a very small piece of a much bigger, much more distasteful puzzle.

English local government is bearing the brunt of "austerity", that's true. But I don't recall the previous Labour government spending £10/head on cycling. And the non-Tory devolved administrations haven't prioritised it either. Probably because there's no significant public (or media) demand for it.

Boris's efforts have put pretty much everywhere else to shame.

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SuperPython59 [763 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I've seconded a motion by Colin Clarke to be put to the CTC at the AGM.
Even if passed it's unlikely to change anything which is a disgrace. Killing tens of thousands every year through short sightedness is utterly reprehensible.
The CTC to promote a European Union climate change policy of national governments funding cycling infrastructure, with a 3% minimum investment of transport spending on cycling infrastructure (built to CROW standards) or investment in relationship to the modal share of cycling. 
ReasonsTrying to ensure that reasonable levels of funding are available to provide cycling infrastructure in all EU countries. TheCTC may gain support via MEPs and in conjunction with the ECF.