Budget 2012: £15 million for junction improvements in London, but Sustrans wants cash spent elsewhere too

Sustainable transport charity also urges for action to be taken to prevent "transport poverty"

by Simon_MacMichael   March 21, 2012  

Gladstone Budget Box (picture - HM Treasury)

Sustrans has described Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s award of £15 million in today’s Budget to help improve the safety of cyclists at junctions in London in as “a step in the right direction,” but has urged officials in national and local government to ensure that improvements are also made elsewhere in the country. The sustainable transport charity has also urged Mr Osborne to use money raised by a increase in fuel duty announced today to fund alternatives to car use, warning that families risk falling into “transport poverty.”

In his Budget speech delivered to the House of Commons earlier today, Mr Osborne said: “The Government will allocate £15 million to TfL for investment in cycle safety. This will include improved provision for cyclists at junctions across the capital currently under consideration in TfL’s Cycle Safety Junction Review.”

That review of junctions was announced by Mayor Boris Johnson last November following pressure from opposition politicians and cycle campaigners in the wake of a series of deaths of cyclists in the capital.

Eleanor Besley, policy adviser at Sustrans, commented: “Cycling is an incredibly convenient way to travel in London, but unfortunately many people are put off because they feel our roads and junctions are too dangerous.

“It is fantastic that the government has realised this and chosen to fund significant improvements to junctions within the capital.

“The funding adds to efforts in London which have already seen the publication of a cycle safety action plan and the development of a junction review process

“However, London is a step ahead of the rest of England and we now have to see London’s ambition being taken on board across the rest of the country both through national government and at the local level,” she continued.

“We need to see the government support towns and cities across England in making our roads safer for cycling, not just confine investment to the capital.”

She warned the Chancellor, however, that a planned 3p rise in fuel duty also announced today risked plunging many already cash-strapped families into “transport poverty” unless investment was made into providing alternatives to travel by car.

Urging Mr Osborne to use the additional revenues that would arise from that increase to fund local transport such as buses as well as making road conditions safer for cyclists and walkers, Ms Besley said: “British people need a choice about how we travel, not a choice between getting to work or affording the weekly shop.

“Public transport is unaffordable, unreliable and often doesn’t exist at all, many people need to have a car to get around.

“The Chancellor said this would be a fair budget for working people, without improving transport we can all benefit from, the Chancellor is forcing people to consider whether they can afford to get to work.”

Ian Drake, chief executive of British Cycling, also welcomed the £15 million given to TfL, saying: “This announcement is a good step in the right direction and shows that the government has listened to British Cycling on the issue of making sure junctions are designed safely.

“We want to get more people on bikes and, while cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity, we know that the perceived risks are a major barrier to participation. We will continue to push for the government to put cycling at the heart of policy so that this country gets the Olympic legacy it deserves.”
 

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Seriously, £15m is a drop in the ocean for 'junction improvements' in that there London - that might be enough to cover maybe three difficult junctions, four at a push. That's before the traffic engineers get involved interpreting the word 'improvements' to mean 'reduce waiting times for motorised vehicles'.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [302 posts]
21st March 2012 - 16:39

like this
Like (3)

£15m for improving junctions will be spent £14m on engineering consultants' studies and £1m "in the shovel".

So it should buy a few tins of that smurf-blue paint which must, judging by the cost, be made with pulverised sapphires instead of the more conventional Titanium Dioxide.

posted by Paul M [309 posts]
21st March 2012 - 17:34

like this
Like (5)

Why direct UK government investment in London ? Everywhere else it is local council £ which is expected to be used. Then Sustrans woman says 'england' this and 'england' that.
As usual the focus is on London at the expense of everywhere else.
Sooner we vote Yes the better.

Je vie dans l'espoir constant

Strathlubnaig's picture

posted by Strathlubnaig [114 posts]
21st March 2012 - 17:47

like this
Like (2)

Strathlubnaig wrote:
Then Sustrans woman says 'england' this and 'england' that...

Sooner we vote Yes the better.

As a fellow Scot, incorrect usage of England for UK or GB has driven me nuts over the years, but in this case the Sustrans spokeswoman is correct - the area comes under responsibility of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and NI.

That doesn't mean that they don't get money towards transport and roads from central government - how it is allocated is a local decision, however.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8033 posts]
21st March 2012 - 18:00

like this
Like (4)

Apologies. I stand corrected. Was not clear on that.
But will still vote Yes.

Je vie dans l'espoir constant

Strathlubnaig's picture

posted by Strathlubnaig [114 posts]
21st March 2012 - 18:12

like this
Like (3)

Strathlubnaig wrote:
But will still vote Yes.

Big Grin

My passport's up for renewal in 2015. Could be good timing, that Thinking

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8033 posts]
21st March 2012 - 18:16

like this
Like (3)

I find it somewhat bizarre that the Chancellor will be paying for cycle lanes in London.It be more sensible to give the Mayor of London greater tax-raising powers he is after all accountable to his voters. The idea that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be deciding what sort cycling infrastructure London should have is, to be blunt pretty preposterous.

But then the objective may be to shore up Boris Johnsons vote ahead of the May election; rather than have any sensible cycling policy and infrastructure for London.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
21st March 2012 - 19:03

like this
Like (2)

Lushmeister beat me to it. Why no funding for anywhere else? Because there isn't a high profile election anywhere else that the Tories expect to win (although given the candidates we lose no matter who is elected here in London).

posted by racingcondor [109 posts]
22nd March 2012 - 0:03

like this
Like (3)