Cycling UK has urged secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling to tackle what it describes as an “active travel crisis,” calling on him – and presumably any successor with a cabinet reshuffle imminent – to quadruple funding for walking and cycling in England by 2025.
The appeal follows the publication yesterday of a report by the House of Commons transport select committee which also called for more money to be spent on active travel.
In a letter sent to Grayling yesterday, Cycling UK’s chief executive Paul Tuohy said that action needs to be taken to avoid a “climate crisis, congestion crisis, pollution crisis and an inactivity-related health crisis.”
He called on the government to double investment in walking and cycling within the next year, and to double it again by 2025 to enable it to meet the Department for Transport’s own targets for growth in active travel.
Tuohy said: “Investment in cycling could make a huge and remarkably cost-effective contribution to tackling several of the economic, health and environmental challenges now facing our country.”
He continued: “We are currently facing a climate crisis, a congestion crisis, a pollution crisis and an inactivity-related health crisis.
“Underlying all of these crises is a ‘underfunding of cycling and walking crisis’, which has persisted for decades under Governments of all hues. It is therefore increasingly critical that you seize the forthcoming Spending Review to address it with the urgency it requires.”
Yesterday’s Transport Select Committee report said: “The Department for Transport should propose a long-term funding settlement for active travel, increasing over time. This would give the signals necessary to local authorities to make active travel a priority.
“The Department for Transport should seek appropriate funds from the Treasury to ensure the delivery of new, ambitious targets in the revised Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy that we have called on the Department to adopt.”
Cycling UK’s appeal for more money to be invested in walking and cycling comes ahead of a spending review the government is expected to launch in the coming weeks, which the charity says “would provide the perfect opportunity for the government to realign its funding priorities to cycling and walking.”
Tuohy added: “The aim must surely be to ensure that the forthcoming Spending Review delivers a renewed Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy that genuinely transforms our roads, streets and communities into clean, safe and attractive places to live, shop, work or move around on foot or by cycle, for the benefit of our health, our economy and our quality of life.”
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.