Chris Boardman will today challenge Cycling minister, Robert Goodwill, to deliver on promises made before the election to double cycling in the UK by 2025.
Boardman, British Cycling's policy advisor, is expected to say at the Active City, Cycle City conference at Newcastle Town Hall this afternoon, which the Director of Public Health England and the leader of Newcastle City Council will also attend, that although cycling's benefits are well understood in terms of social mobility, physical activity and pollution, policy has lagged behind.
He will say that with a majority government the Conservatives have the political and economic conditions to deliver meaningful progress. Boardman will invite Goodwill to join him in Copenhagen to see in person what British cities could look like.
Speaking at the #CycleCityActiveCity conference with cycling Minister today. I'll be delivering an invitation to some of his colleagues...
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) June 25, 2015
Boardman will say: “The commitment to double the number of journeys cycled will not be easy – there’s no time to waste. For a relatively small investment the government can solve so many of the issues that currently afflict our country including obesity, pollution and congestion. It really is a no-brainer. Even the Government’s own figures count cycling as the most cost-effective transport spend, with a return of as much as 20:1.
“The first step is to bring forward the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy required by the Infrastructure Act before Parliament breaks for summer in three weeks. A long-term strategy will give everyone involved – particularly local authorities – the confidence to develop the network of segregated lanes and traffic-calmed streets needed to persuade people to switch to cycling.”
When asked by road.cc earlier this month about progress on the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, Goodwill said he was "working on that at the moment." He said "certainly I see cycling as a priority", but that he needed to see what the settlement from the Treasury was following funding cuts announced in the last month.
Boardman will continue by posing a direct challenge to the Minister: "A fortnight before the election, the Prime Minister wrote to me outlining his personal and political commitment to making Britain a ‘cycling nation’ and to double the number of journeys cycled by 2025. A majority Conservative Government was returned and Robert Goodwill reiterated those promises at the Dutch Embassy three weeks ago.
"You [Mr Goodwill] have the evidence, you have the mandate, and you have a majority in the House of Commons. We want to help you, and there’s nothing to stop you."
Finally, Boardman will invite Goodwill to visit Copenhagen, something he says should be obligatory for anyone making big decisions on transport.
"Everyone who makes the big decisions for us and our children, should be obliged to visit places like Copenhagen to see the alternatives first hand – see it, feel it, experience it.
"To that end, I’d like to challenge Robert Goodwill, who has been a good friend to cycling since he became minister, to join me with his colleagues on a trip to Copenhagen to see what Britain’s towns and cities could be."