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Is Labour back-pedalling on green commitment to cycling?

No mention of cycling—or transport—in today's Labour environmental mini-manifesto...

Unlike its 2010 equivalent, the Labour Party's Green Plan, launched today, contains no mention at all of cycling or transportation policy.

The Labour Party today presented its environmental mini-manifesto, the Green Plan, outlining the steps it will take if elected to tackle climate change, protect the environment and deal with air pollution.

Transportation accounts for around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions, according to Government figures and the Green Party devotes an entire chapter of its manifesto to transport. You might therefore expect some commitment in the Green Plan to limiting CO2 emissions from transportation, but it's not there.

Along with walking, cycling is the most environmentally benign way of getting around, with a minimal contribution to greenhouse gas production or other atmospheric pollution.

In excluding transportation from its Green Plan, the Labour Party has missed the opportunity to detail how it will "promote cycling", as promised in its main manifesto.

It's a substantial change from Labour's 2010 paper, A green future fair for all, which committed Labour to supporting cycling as a means of reducing transport emissions.

In that paper, the party pledged to "drive down emissions from all forms of transport" with "support for buses, cycling and walking".

In particular, the 2010 Labour 'green manifesto' pledged to adopt "strategies to increase cycling and walking."

It cited the Cycle Demonstration and Sustainable Travel Towns and said: "Our new Urban Challenge Fund will provide finance for local authorities that establish ambitious sustainable travel plans with cycling, walking and public transport at their heart."

The new Green Plan was launched by Maria Eagle and Caroline Flint, the Labour Party's Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Shadow Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change respectively in the last Parliament. We have contacted Ms Eagle and Ms Flint to seek clarification regarding the omission of transportation policy.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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