The government has come under attack from cycling campaigners this Easter weekend over the lack of money provided to implement the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) – but a key document released prior to the Bank Holiday gave a hint of what was to come, with just one mention of people on bike, or on foot for that matter, in its 113 pages.
The document in question is the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021, which according to HM Treasury “brings together all of the government’s infrastructure priorities over the next five years.”
It also incorporates the National Infrastructure Pipeline, which outlines a planned investment of £450 billion during that period and beyond in “over 600 major projects and programmes across the UK,” as well as “£58 billion of public investment for housing and regeneration, education, health and justice.”
Included in those figures are £15 billion earmarked for building or improving major roads in England, and national cyclists’ charity CTC urged at the weekend that more of that money should be earmarked for cycling, with Highways England having outlined earlier this year its £100 million plan to “cycle proof” the Strategic Road Network.
CTC, which lobbied successfully along with others for the inclusion the CWIS in last year’s Infrastructure Act, said at the weekend that the planned £300 million spend on cycling in England at the weekend meant that “English cycle use would eventually reach Dutch levels by the start of the 23rd century, while its funding allocations mean even slower progress.”
British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman said that the CWIS, which has entered an eight-week consultation, “won’t be worth the paper it’s written on” and accused Prime Minsiter David Cameron of “reneging on the ‘cycling revolution’ he promised us three years ago.”
He added: “If the government won’t commit to £10 per head every year, this strategy is stalling before it’s even got started.”
To save you from wading through the 113 pages of the National Infrastructure Plan to find that reference to cycling, we’ve done it for you.
On page 28, setting out the eight key objectives of Highways England during ‘Road Period 1’ – that’s from 2015 to 2020 – it lists one of those as “helping cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users of the SRN [Strategic Roads Network].”
But with planned spending on cycling in England, other than London, standing at £1.39 per person per year, compared to the minimum £10 campaigners have called for, not with bundles of cash, it seems.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.