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Concerns raised over "extreme" cuts to London cycling budget

London Assembly Member, Darren Johnson, discovered London's cycling budget will more than halve by 2020, while cycling numbers are predicted to rise...

Funding for cycling in London could more than halve under the next mayor if ongoing funds aren’t secured, potentially putting London’s growing number of cyclists at risk, warns London Assembly Member, Darren Johnson.

Concerns about “extreme” cuts were raised after it was revealed London will spend almost £100m less in 2020/21 on cycling than in 2016/17, while cycling levels are predicted to rise as more Londoners make use of new cycle infrastructure.

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate, Caroline Pidgeon, told Chris Boardman she would commit to “moving towards” spending 3% of London’s transport budget on cycling by the end of the next mayoral term.

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Darren Johnson, who questioned London Mayor Boris Johnson at a recent Mayor’s Question Time, says cycle spending should be proportional to cycling numbers, and should rise in line with projected increases in cycling.

He said: “These extreme cuts to the cycling budget are to kick in just as cycling is set to rocket in London. The next Mayor should be investing consistently year-on-year to bring London’s cycling infrastructure up to continental standards, not letting funding fall off a cliff edge and leaving cyclists to face danger.

London is expected to spend £166m on cycling in 2017/18 and £124 in 2018/19, dropping to £66m in 2019/20 and just £31m in 2021/22, but Darren Johnson argues this figure should be at least £200m per year.

“The London Assembly agreed unanimously that cycling’s share of funding should match the proportion of London trips taken by bike and that would mean at least £200m of TfL’s budget at today’s level of cycling, not a pathetic £31m. I urge the next Mayor to spend more to make cycling safer and more appealing in London and to intervene to reverse these planned cuts,” he said.

In a meeting with British Cycling’s Policy Advisor, Chris Boardman, last week Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem mayoral candidate, said investing in cycling improves the environment for everyone, not just cyclists, and pledged to increase the congestion charge zone in Central London, ban HGVs during rush hour, and continue building the cycle superhighways the outgoing mayor, Boris Johnson, has started.

She said: “Part of the key is putting serious money in. At the moment we’re not even spending 2% of Transport for London’s budget (on cycling) – I want us to be moving towards 3% by the end of this next term. This will match the number of people cycling and, beyond that, if more people are cycling we need to put more money in.

“We need to invest more, and I don’t want people thinking that this is just cycling money – it’s about improving the environment for everyone.”

She added more can be done in outer London to get people out of their cars, and suggested rolling out the mini Holland programme “across the whole of London”.

She added: “We also need to spend some time and money working with communities to understand what our vision for cycling is. I think in some ways we’ve had to try to spend the money so quickly we haven’t brought the community with us to understand that it’s not just about cyclists, it’s about pedestrians, it’s about everyone who lives in an area.”

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