Loss of impetus fear with axing of Cycling England

Leaving spending decisions to local government could be risky says chairman

by Mark Appleton   October 24, 2010  

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As reported earlier on road.cc, the future of the Bikeability cycle training scheme is guaranteed for the duration of the current parliament.

However, with the axing of Cycling England, its chairman says the fear is that the momentum cycling gained during the years of its existence will now be lost.

Cycling England chairman Phillip Darnton told the Bikebiz website: "Clearly the news that Cycling England is coming to an end is disappointing, though I don't think it is the big story. There are only four of us here at Cycling England and there are lots more people who are having to deal with losing their jobs.

"What is a real pity is the lack of continuity of funding for cycling and also the inevitable loss of people's experience and expertise.

"It takes so much time to build a team up and I fear this lack of continuity will mean there's a loss of momentum in the movement for cycling.

"We've had a great period where the Government has spent money on and promoted cycling, but this is now being handed over to local areas. Whether Local Authorities will see cycling as important, or something they want to spend money on, is a moot point."

Darnton also told Bikebiz that as the focus shifts to the Bikeability scheme there is some positive news about its funding: "We've heard that Bikeability might be in line to receive as much as £10 million a year. If that is the case then that's obviously great news, but how that funding will be managed is not clear.

"Funding for Bikeability is absolutely essential. It's tough to turn a non-cyclist adult into a cyclist, but if we don't convert them while they're young then you have a mountain to climb."