Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester will each receive £22 million in Cycle City Ambition funding from the Department for Transport. The three cities are among eight that will benefit from the new investment of £114 million for the period 2015/16 to 2017/18.
The others receiving additional funding are Bristol (£19 million), Newcastle (£10.6 million), Norwich (£8.4 million), Cambridge (£6 million) and Oxford (£3.3 million).
All of the cities concerned were successful in the first wave of Cycle City Ambition funding announced in August 2013, and were invited late last year to apply for further cash by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Announcing the amounts allocated to each city today, Mr Clegg said: “We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we’re in the right gear to see it through. That’s why I’m so pleased to announce this investment for these major cities to make it easier for people to get around on 2 wheels.
“With the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year still fresh in our minds, this money can help Britain become a cycling nation to rival the likes of Denmark and the Netherlands.
“Research shows us that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population.”
It’s the second time in less than six months that the government has made a major announcement on cycling on the same day the issue is due to be discussed by politicians.
The last was in October, when the DfT published its draft cycling delivery plan on the day MPs debated progress being made towards implementing the recommendations of last year’s Get Britain Cycling report from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG).
Today’s announcement comes ahead of this morning’s Big Cycling Debate in London organised by the UK Cycling Alliance at which the three main parties will outline their manifestoes for cycling ahead of May’s general election.
Cycling minister Robert Goodwill will represent the Conservatives, and will be joined by Labour shadow transport minister Lillian Greenwood and Dr Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat who co-chairs the APPCG.
Mr Goodwill said: “Cycling is great for your health and good for the environment, and this government is doing all it can to help more people get out on their bikes.
“We have doubled the amount of money available for cycling and taken steps to make sure that future governments plan properly for cycling.
“This investment shows our continued commitment to making cycling even easier and safer, and our ambition to help make these cities better for cycles.”
Claims over the level of funding made by the present government, which abolished Cycling England in the months following the 2010 general election, have at times been disputed.
While Mr Goodwill has pointed in the past to cities such as Manchester receiving £10 per person under the Cycle City Ambition fund, that investment is by its nature short term and localised.
Campaign groups including British Cycling and CTC, as well as the 2013 report Get Britain Cycling from the APPCG, have all called for a minimum investment of £10 per person per head to be made.
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.