British Cycling and CTC have welcomed the announcement by Transport Minister Norman Baker that the government has committed a further £20 million to be spent on supporting cycling, including improving safety at junctions. Mr Baker revealed the investment at a conference in Leicester this morning, where according to CTC he also hinted that Prime Minister David Cameron would be making an announcement relating to cycling and walking early in the new year.
In a joint statement, British Cycling and CTC said that they “welcome the announcement of much-needed investment in cycling - it is encouraging to see funding being allocated to improve conditions on the road.
“We now need to see real leadership right across government to get Britain cycling. If cycling is put at the heart of transport policy - so that all decisions are made with cycling in mind - we can create a cycling nation to rival countries like Denmark.”
Today’s conference explored how local authority health and transport officials can work more closely to promote cycling and walking and coincides with today’s recommendation by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence that cycling and walking be placed at the heart of efforts to improve the nation’s health.
Mr Baker said: “Cycling is great for your health, the economy, and for the environment so we are determined to make it easier for people to cycle whether for leisure, getting to the shops or as part of their commute to work.
“Following the success of the Olympics, there is a huge appetite for more cycling provision from the travelling public and we need to capitalise on this enthusiasm at local and national level.
“That is why we are investing £20 million in cycling infrastructure and getting councils to bring an end to silo working in their offices.”
Signisficantly, part of the money is being provided from the Department of Health's budget, and Public Health Minister Anna Soubry, also at today’s conference, added: “Being active helps us stay healthy and protects against life threatening conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
“Cycling is a great way for adults to get their recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week and this funding will help encourage more people to get involved.”
In a written statement laid before Parliament this morning and published on the DfT’s website, Mr Baker, outlining where the £20 million would be spent, said:
The funding will increase the total available for:
The Community Linking Places Fund (in addition to the £15m announced on 7 February 2012)
Improving cycle safety at junctions (in addition to the £15m announced on 26 June 2012)
This Community Linking Places Fund is primarily for improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure, facilities and links. This includes improving access to the rail network by bicycle. In addition the fund aims to support jobs, enhance access to employment and encourage greater use of more environmentally friendly transport. Projects currently being supported were announced on 6 March 2012.
The investment in junctions - for use by English local authorities outside London - will help to tackle accident hotspots where cyclists have been killed or seriously injured, or are deemed to be at greater risk. Local authorities are currently submitting bids for funding.
Demand from local authorities, Sustrans and train operating companies, who are delivering the infrastructure, has been high. An increase of £20m to the total funding available will allow the Government to support more high quality proposals.
Details of the projects to be supported under the additional funding will be published early next year.