The chair of a major law firm says cycling infrastructure helps businesses attract top talent in cities like London, and says a “silent majority” of companies support investment in decent cycling routes.
David Morley, Senior Partner of Allen & Overy, which employs 3,000 staff worldwide, a third of those in London, says the firm’s main assets are its employees and people friendly streets help make an attractive place for those employees to live.
Allen & Overy is among 40 businesses within British Cycling’s Choose Cycling network, with the aim of demonstrating business support for cycle infrastructure. Morley made the comments after the announcement of a YouGov poll showing 70% of people want to see protected cycle infrastructure on main roads.
He told road.cc: “We are a people business, all our assets go up and down the lifts each day, so for us it’s about getting the best talent.
“We are competing globally, we are competing with the world’s best [companies] so we have got to get the top talent. We want to be in one of those places - and London is one of those places - that attracts people. Anything that attracts top talent is good for London, good for business; I think cycling’s one of those things, it makes the city a more attractive place to live and work.
He says the Choose Cycling network is a useful platform from which businesses can show the government what they want the UK’s towns and cities to look like. Allen & Overy, he adds, are among the “silent majority” that supports cycle infrastructure, and although the firm tries to encourage employees to cycle, he feels more would do so if the roads felt safe, particularly female employees.
He said: “We have been members [of the Choose Cycling network] for a while and I think it is one way in which best practice can be shared and the voice of business can be heard in the debate around cycling, the debate about facilities."
Allen & Overy was one of the Canary Wharf businesses that countered complaints from London's second business district over the effect construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway could have on traffic.
Morley said: “We put a submission to the consultation on the Cycle Superhighways because it’s important for policymakers to hear the voice of business. We want them to be making decisions that are good for people but good for business as well.
“I think it can be hard for policymakers to understand ‘what does business think about these issues?’ because they hear a lot about the disruption while the roads are being dug, up but I think there’s a bigger silent majority out there that are pro-cycling because it is good for their people and it’s good for their business."