The UK Cycling Alliance (UKCA) will host a national cycling debate on Monday 2 March at which Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats will state their position on cycling ahead of the General Election in May.
John Humphrys will host The Big Cycling Debate at which Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill MP (Conservative); Shadow Transport Minister, Richard Burden (Labour); and Dr Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrats), will all be in attendance.
The event is being hosted by the UK Cycling Alliance, a group of non-government and membership organisations working in and on behalf of cycling. Members include British Cycling, CTC and Sustrans. Speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Chris Boardman said:
“In the last couple of years we’ve started to see real progress being made and a will to make the changes needed at the top to embed cycling into our culture. With the election just around the corner it will be interesting to hear what plans the major political parties have.
“With cycling more popular than it’s been in decades and a new clause in the Infrastructure Act that makes providing for cycling a legal requirement, we have what is perhaps a once in generation chance to change our country for the better. All of the cycling organisations in the alliance agree that leadership and sustained investment are key to transforming Britain into a cleaner, more liveable and healthier nation. I am anxious to hear which of the would-be leaders of this country have the vision to grasp this opportunity.”
In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron promised a ‘cycling revolution’ but a year later, the Government’s cycling delivery plan was described as ‘derisory’ and little more than ‘a wish list’ by campaigners.
Chief among the criticisms was the lack of any firm commitment to spending. 2013’s Get Britain Cycling report from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) called for initial minimum annual spend on cycling of £10 per person. However, the report merely expressed an aspiration to work with local government and businesses to “explore how we can achieve a minimum funding equivalent to £10 per person each year by 2020 and 2021 – and sooner if possible.”
Transport minister, Robert Goodwill, claimed that the government had doubled funding since 2010, with £374 million committed between 2011 and 2015. However, CTC chief executive, Paul Tuohy, led the reaction to what he described as being ‘a derisory plan not a delivery plan.’
“If we can afford long term strategies for our roads and railways, why not for cycling? It has such huge benefits to the economy and the environment, our waistlines and our wallets it would be foolish not to.”