Transport Minister Norman Baker announces £62 million investment in cycling

£30 million available for cities to bid on to improve facilities, £9 million will see 40 per cent more railway cycle parking spaces

by Simon_MacMichael   January 30, 2013  

Commuter cyclist

Minister for Transport Norman Baker will today announce how £62 million in  funding for cycling will be spent, including £30 million that will be made available for cities in England to bid on to improve cycling infrastructure. The money is additional to a planned major investment in cycling Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg are expected to announce in the coming weeks.

Some £9 million of the money - £7.5 million from the Department for Transport and £1.5 million from train operating companies – is being set aside for 20,000 cycle parking spaces at railway stations this is part of an overall £15 million that will be spent on schemes throught the Community Linking Places Fund which aims to increase community cycling (Govt-speak for cycling in the community we presume) and cycle-rail integration.

Part of this spending will see the number of such spaces at train stations rise by 40 per cent to 70,000 as Mr Baker, whose responsibilities include cycling and local transport, seeks to encourage people to engage in ‘joined-up’ sustainable transport. There will also be the green light is being given for funding towards a new £500,000 cycle hub at Brighton station offering 500 new cycle parking spaces, cycle hire, changing facilities and a cycle repair workshop. There will also be cycle hubs at Redhill, Upminster, Nottingham and Leicester stations which will see hundreds of new cycle parking places and bikes for hire, plus a high quality cycle route network promised for Leeds city centre.

Rural areas such as national parks will receive £12 million in funding and another £5 million will be added to the fund for improving the most dangerous junctions. By far the largest tranche of cash announced today though, £30 million, will go to urban areas - specifically to improve cycling with up to three cities invited to bid for a slice of the cash. Speaking at the official announcement of the extra cash Mr Baker said that only cities with 'city deal' status would be eligible to apply. So far eligible cities include Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham, but more cities are expected to have the necessary status by the time the bidding process starts. 

The Department for Transport also point out that many of the schemes this money will help fund will also attract local investment too, making the total value of the package far higher than £62 million.

In his official announcement of the funding Mr Baker said: "We are serious about cycling, as this latest wave of funding shows. We have already seen how schemes can quickly deliver economic and environmental benefits, as well as improving public health.

"Anyone who rides a bike will know it is important to keep the impetus going and this record level of funding will provide a shot in the arm to cycling in England.

"Our ambition is to get people cycling more safely and more often and today’s announcements will help us to make that vision a reality."

Speaking to The Times ahead of today’s announcement, Mr Baker said: “This is the biggest ever daily investment in cycling."

“The centrepiece of the package will be a new fund for cities outside London to improve their cycling infrastructure. Mr Baker said that he expected to receive submissions by the summer.

“We are keen to get a move on. The intention is to spend it as soon as possible,” he added, with cities looking to get a slice of the cash invited to tender their bids by this summer.

Responding to news of the investment, Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive of Sustrans, said: "Additional funding for cycling networks is urgently needed and we warmly welcome this new funding initiative from Government.
 


“Sustrans is very pleased to have the opportunity to use our expertise to help local authorities deliver safer roads, junctions and routes across the country, particularly in sometimes-overlooked rural areas.
 


“Creating high quality cycling paths that increase travel choices is a key element in the overarching plan to get Britain cycling and turn us into a healthier, more productive and more mobile nation. 



“With continuing political leadership, better funding and improved infrastructure, we can transform travel by providing real choices over how people can get around and ensure cycling and walking are the norm for shorter journeys.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Baker elaborated on the thinking behind the investment in cycle parking at train stations.

"The intention is to join up different modes of transport, so people have a sustainable choice from when they leave their door to wherever they finish up. Part of that is to make sure people can cycle to the station and leave their bike there.

"What I've observed, all around the country, is the moment you put in new bike spaces they get filled up immediately. There's clearly the demand."

While that money will be welcomed by cycle campaigners, some would point out that one issue that needs addressing to encourage the ‘joined-up travel’ Mr Baker desires would be to make it easier for cyclists to take non-folding bikes on trains at peak times.

At last week’s opening session of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s inquiry to ‘Get Britain Cycling’ major investment and leadership from the highest levels of government were identified as the two key factors that would encourage more people to take to bikes.

The investment is starting to mount up, although it is still well below the per capita levels seen in a number of European countries, and Mr Baker insists that the support from his senior colleagues is there.

"There have been expressions of interest in cycling from both the prime minister and deputy prime minister,” he explained.

“There is a recognition of a value of cycling at the very top. I wouldn't tell you that if it wasn't true. Certainly, when I've put forward schemes for funding they have been funded. People across government recognise the value of cycling."

Mr Baker rejected appeals from witnesses to the Parliamentary Inquiry to undertake a centralised push for segregated cycling infrastructure, instead saying that it should be left to councils to decide how to spend any money they received for cycling, which ties in with the government’s localisation agenda.

"Ultimately a cycle lane is normally a local facility and there's a limit to how far central government should be telling councils what they do in their own patch,” he said.

“We can set an example, we can provide funding streams, and we can hope local government does the rest."

With cycling levels in Britain running at around 2 per cent of journeys, he also said it was unlikely we would see it reach levels seen in the Netherlands.

"If we reached Dutch levels I'd be ecstatic, but I can't see us getting there," he reflected.

"I went to Leiden railway station and there were, I think, 13,000 bikes there that morning, which is just a different world from all other European countries.

“The Dutch have been fantastically successful. It is by and large flatter in Holland than it is in the UK, which is certainly an advantage, and it's more compact, so there are differences."

As the European Cyclists’ Federation pointed out recently, while Denmark and the Netherlands, both of which instituted policies in the 1970s which have led to today’s levels of cycling, may be tough examples to follow, Germany is a country that demonstrates what can be achieved if there is the political will to encourage people to cycle and make it safe for them to do so.
 

13 user comments

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"Ultimately a cycle lane is normally a local facility and there's a limit to how far central government should be telling councils what they do in their own patch,” he said.
LOL

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
30th January 2013 - 11:21

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Quote:
"Ultimately a cycle lane is normally a local facility and there's a limit to how far central government should be telling councils what they do in their own patch,”

never stops the government controlling everything else, so why the difference?

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posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
30th January 2013 - 12:25

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Whenever governments announce funding like this, it makes cycling appear as some special needs case, being subsidised because otherwise it wouldn't be tenable on its own. Which is ironic, given that the bicycle is one of the very few technologies invented in the last couple hundred years that truly maximises efficiency and is therefore sustainable on any timescale. We only need funding to compensate for 50 or so years of the built environment having been designed for far, far less sustainable technologies.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
30th January 2013 - 12:40

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To be honest, Id rather the government made the holes in the roads go away. Cycles lanes etc in towns and cities are all well and good and needed, but for me in the country, the roads are shocking. God knows what it must be like on a motorbike round here, terrifying.

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
30th January 2013 - 12:57

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“The Dutch have been fantastically successful. It is by and large flatter in Holland than it is in the UK, which is certainly an advantage, and it's more compact, so there are differences."

Eh? Most cities in Britain are pretty flat, particularly it's largest one London, and people have always preferred to site on flat plains unless there is a defence imperative.

Furthermore, compactness has nothing to do with it. No one is seriously suggesting that most people who live in the countryside would want to (or be able to) cycle 40 miles to work and back. 5 miles in a Dutch town is the same as 5 miles in a British town and population densities in towns and cities in the UK are broadly similar. Infact I'm confident the south east of England has a higher population density than the Netherlands.

posted by jackh [105 posts]
30th January 2013 - 12:57

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The Dutch spend, on average, €470 million a year on cycling.
For a population of 16m.
Just saying like.

posted by Some Fella [740 posts]
30th January 2013 - 13:34

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Pitstone Peddler wrote:
To be honest, Id rather the government made the holes in the roads go away. Cycles lanes etc in towns and cities are all well and good and needed, but for me in the country, the roads are shocking. God knows what it must be like on a motorbike round here, terrifying.

The rural aspect is definitely a challenge

My commute takes me from a large urban area - through twisty country lanes - then into a major city

Add to that the fact it covers two different local authorities and the facilities are patchy in the extreme

Leaving this to local govmint won't work - we need some sort of national approach/funding

posted by mad_scot_rider [544 posts]
30th January 2013 - 15:06

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So days after railways get billions, we get told councils get to compete for a much smaller pot and nothing is done to improve the basic construction standards - or lack of standards, more like - that cause us so much trouble. I'm so disappointed in cycling Cameron's government.

posted by a.jumper [694 posts]
30th January 2013 - 15:31

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Best point I read was that £62 million represents £1 per head of population for one year. The Dutch spend £25 per person per year every year!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
30th January 2013 - 17:26

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Are they really going to spend half a bar on 500 cycle spaces at Brighton - a cool grand per space? WTF???

There is something about public sector project economics which really doesn't add up.

And changing facilities?

Could we not spread that money around a bit and equip far more stations wih a useful number of secure cycle parking spaces? I'm sure it woudl be more usefully spent that way.

posted by Paul M [307 posts]
30th January 2013 - 21:34

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"encourage people to cycle and make it safe for them to do so."

You can spend all the money you like but until the courts take killing a cyclist seriously and start jailing a few drivers, it won't be safe.

posted by bobdelamare [19 posts]
30th January 2013 - 22:15

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Quote:
“We can set an example, we can provide funding streams, and we can hope local government does the rest."

With cycling levels in Britain running at around 2 per cent of journeys, he also said it was unlikely we would see it reach levels seen in the Netherlands.

"If we reached Dutch levels I'd be ecstatic, but I can't see us getting there," he reflected".

In other words, "we know this won't make any difference, so we'll give up before we've even started".

F***ing pathetic Sad

posted by don_don [149 posts]
30th January 2013 - 23:17

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Some of the problem is just sheer idleness.

We have a lovely bike lock up at our local station Blundellsands & Crosby. It normally has a maximum of 3 bikes in it. Meanwhile the car park and surrounding roads are clogged with cars - driven by commuters who live within half a mile of the station. I know this to be true because the village is a mile and a half across and the surrounding stations along the line only half a mile each side of ours.

I see this result of this all the time. I worked with 4 people half my age today. Only one of them aside myself had a BMI below 25. It's telly tubby lad out there. Sad

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1052 posts]
30th January 2013 - 23:18

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