Campaigners have expressed alarm at how cycle funding will be slashed in coming years following the election of a Conservative government. The party’s manifesto pledges less than a quarter of current funding over the next five years, despite a previous admission that funding needed to double for it to hit cycling targets.
The Conservative Party have pledged to spend £350m on active travel over the lifetime of the next parliament.
This works out at less than £1.20 per person per year, which compares to the current spend of £7. Groups campaigning under the Cycling & Walking Alliance umbrella have called for £17 a head annual spend, rising to £34 by 2025.
“Cycling UK is alarmed at the prospect of a new government slashing the level of funding for cycling in England to less than a quarter of its current levels for the next five years,” said Cycling UK Chief Executive, Paul Tuohy.
“The Conservatives in their manifesto have promised to spend just £70m a year on cycling infrastructure, opening up a chasm between what has been promised and what is actually needed.”
In October, the Government admitted that funding per head in England would have to double from current levels if it were to reach its 2025 target of doubling cycling from 800 million travel ‘stages’ to 1.6 billion.
Tuohy says that from next April there is “absolutely zero money” earmarked for local authorities for cycling and walking infrastructure.
“The Conservative manifesto commitment would see the current £7 per head currently being spent on walking and cycling in England, outside of London slashed to just £1.55 per head. This would be an abject failure by this incoming government to address the climate, air pollution, congestion and inactivity-related health crises the country is now facing.
“That’s why we will be writing to Boris Johnson demanding an urgent re-evaluation of his party’s spending pledge if he is truly serious about making the country ‘the greenest, cleanest on earth’.”