Study conducted for charity by Leeds University shows benefit of hitting Get Britain Cycling targets

National cycling charity CTC says England’s economy could benefit to the tune of £248 billion over the next three and a half decades if the recommendations of the 2013 Get Britain Cycling report of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) were implemented in full.

The claim is made in research conducted by Dt Robin Lovelace and Fiona Crawford of Leeds University whose report, The Economic Cycle – Quantifying the benefits of getting England Cycling is published today.

With a foreword by the University of the West of England’s Professor Phil Goodwin, author of that APPCG report, the CTC study claims that by comparison, implementation of the government’s Cycling Delivery Plan (CDP), published last October, would bring an economic benefit to England of just £48 billion.

The difference is chiefly due to the impact of meeting the ambitious target set in the Get Britain Cycling report – 10 per cent of all journeys to be achieved by bike by 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050 – against the one set in the CDP.

The government said in that document, described on its launch by CTC chief executive Paul Tuohy as “derisory,”that it wanted to double trips by bike from their current level of 2 per cent by 2025.

Cycling campaigners including CTC also criticised the government for failing to give a firm commitment to spending £10 per head each year on cycling, one of the key recommendations of the ACPPG’s report.

According to the CTC’s report, by 2050 there would be a yearly benefit of £46.4 billion to England were the Get Britain Cycling report’s recommendations met in full, mainly through increased fitness of the population but also through factors such as less congestion and absenteeism as well as better air quality.

Launching the report today, Mr Tuohy said: “Every day it seems a new report is issued that states the UK through an increasing sedentary existence is eating its way into an obesity epidemic that will break the NHS and cost billions to the economy.

“Our report, the Economic Cycle, proves conclusively that cycling can make a real difference to waist lines and the economy – £248 billion worth of difference. However this can only be achieved if ambitious targets to encourage cycle growth are set and there is a proper long term funding strategy in place.

“CTC has joined its cycling and walking coalition partners to call on MPs to support Dr Julian Huppert MP’s amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which would create a legally binding Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. Such a strategy will make the possibility of cycling’s massive return on investment less of a dream and increasingly a reality.”

The charity, together with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sustrans, Living Streets, British Cycling and the Richmond Group, is pressing for an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill currently passing through Parliament that would see a long-term investment strategy put in place for walking and cycling.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.