Protesters demanding 10 per cent of England’s transport budget be spent on cycling and walking to will target the Treasury early next year, Stop Killing Cyclists has announced.
Funding for cycling is set to drop to 72p per person per year in England by 2020, compared with £86 for motorways and trunk roads, and concerns are growing about the effects of air pollution and inactivity on the UK population's health.
Stop Killing Cyclists is calling for the Government to invest 5 per cent of the Transport budget to walking and cycling from 2017, rising to 10 per cent by 2020, in a bid to tackle lethal levels of air pollution in towns and cities. The protest is planned for Saturday February 11 at 1pm.
Stop Killing Cyclists' Fred Smith told road.cc the 11th February date was chosen because at that time Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will be putting together his first budget, which he will deliver in March. By this point Donald Trump will be US President, which Smith says will "highlight climate change inaction".
Smith said: "We want to remind [Philip Hammond] of all the reasons the UK needs him to start funding cycling and walking properly.
"UK politicians can't keep saying nice words about pollution, climate change and public health then fail to take the actions needed to make the difference. This protest is to demand investment rather than lip service for cycling and walking, to make the UK cleaner, healthier and sustainable."
In a statement, Stop Killing Cyclists (SKC) said: “Air pollution is poisoning millions of people in the UK while human made climate change is a threat to communities all over the world. In our daily lives, road danger means most people do not feel safe cycling on UK roads meaning they miss out on healthy exercise and compounding a health disaster which the NHS will struggle to afford.
“Successive governments have chronically underfunded active travel and current spending plans would further reduce the cycling budget to less than £1 per person in England.
“We are asking for the government to commit to significantly increase funding for cycling and walking starting with 5% of the 2017 transport budget and increasing to 10% by 2020.”
SKC suggests this funding would include investment in:
- Healthy Neighbourhoods, with motor traffic restricted and ‘rat runs’ blocked, to encourage outdoor play for children
- Safe Routes to School
- Town Centres “devoted to people not dominated by motor traffic”, including motor traffic free high streets and improved public transport links
- Physically protected cycle tracks, and links to public transport hubs
“Beyond this parliament we are asking for the funding to further increase up to £3bn per year by 2025, to reach 20% of the transport budget - the UN’s recommended minimum,” SKC says.
In February Stop Killing Cyclists targeted the Department for Transport with its Pollution Protest.
In the past Cycling UK’s Policy Director, Roger Geffen, has criticised the Treasury for failing to listen to transport planners that more roads investment is “highly questionable” in economic terms, while the Government pushes ahead with a £15bn roads investment plan.
He said although Treasury officials accept, “off the record”, the high returns for walking and cycling, that doesn’t fit with an economic model based on the private motor car that former Chancellor George Osborne, and now Current Chancellor, Philip Hammond, adhere to.
In London last week, Mayor Sadiq Khan, announced 5 per cent of Transport for London’s (TfL) budget will be spent on cycling and walking – double that spent by the previous mayor, Boris Johnson.
The protest takes place on 11 February 1-4pm, meeting at Trafalgar Square, before cycling and walking to the Treasury on Horse Guards Parade. The Facebook event can be found here.