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Shadow transport secretary outlines plans at party conference in Brighton

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has told the Labour conference today that if the party is returned to government in 2015, it will introduce “clear goals to increase cycling,” as well as restoring road safety targets.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has urged Ms Eagle to back up her pledge to prioritise local transport at the expense of new roads to be backed up by ongoing investment enabling local authorities to set budgets, should Labour from the next government.

The MP for Garston and Halewood pointed out to delegates inb Brighton that while Norman Baker, the transport minister responsible for cycling, had “tried to get his Tory bosses to take cycling seriously,” the sums secured for cycling were equivalent to what she said was £38 million a year, against claimed planned spend on new roads totalling £28 billion.

Headline government figures, such as the £77 million Cycle City Ambition funding announced last month, span multiple years.

Ms Eagle also reminded the conference that shortly after Mr Baker was appointed to his position following the formation of the Coalition Government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in May 2010, Cycling England was scrapped, and with it the £60 million annual funding it distributed.

She outlined measures that Labour – which has pledged to adopt the findings of the Get Britain Cycling report published in April by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group earlier this year – would adopt if it were elected at the next general election.

“Here’s what we need to do,” she said. “Clear goals to increase cycling.  Separated routes.  Redesigned junctions. Phased traffic lights. Cycling Safety Assessments for all new transport schemes. Restored targets to cut road deaths and serious injuries.

“Duties to support Active Travel, as Labour introduced in Wales,” she went on.

“20mph zones, the default in residential areas. Long term support for teaching safe cycling. Space on trains. Secure facilities at stations – required in rail contracts. Sentencing guidelines reviewed. Tough new rules on HGVs.”

The pledges reflect the substance of the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report, also welcomed last week at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow.

However, the Coalition Government last month issued what was widely seen among the cycling community largely as a disappointing response to the report, other than a commitment to review sentencing in cases in which cyclists are the victims.

Sustrans' Policy Director, Jason Torrance, said: “It's fantastic to see Labour make a clear and firm commitment to cycling and to introducing a default 20mph speed limit in residential areas, putting an end to the postcode lottery that leaves some communities in more danger than others.

"The decision to divert funding away from new roads and into affordable local transport is also welcome but it must be backed up with consistent, year-on-year investment so that local authorities have the ability to plan for the future.

"Access to healthy and affordable transport is essential - if we are to tackle the UK's physical inactivity crisis and prevent the economy from faltering any further walking, cycling and public transport must sit at the heart of these plans.”

Referring to Ms Eagle’s promise to reintroduce targets to cut casualties, road safety charity IAM highlighted that according to a survey of local councillors it conducted earlier this year, those representing Labour should the highest commitment to reducing death and injury on the roads, and 78 per cent were against road safety targets being scrapped.

Its chief executive, Simon Best, said: “Road safety targets work very effectively. In the past they joined up organisations. Local councils, the police, the NHS and safety camera partnerships used common targets to bring their policies together. 

“And where there was a target, they always wanted to exceed it,” he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

19 comments

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joebee9870 [71 posts] 2 years ago
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Scram politicians and just let me go out on my bike when I want to.

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horizontal dropout [266 posts] 2 years ago
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In the run up to the London Mayoral elections, Greens signed up to improved conditions for cyclists, I think pledging to Love London Go Dutch but could have been another initiative. The other party candidates gradually all pledged support until Boris was the odd one out. That pressure was enough to make him pledge support as well.

Perhaps with Lib Dems and Labour both supporting Get Britain Cycling at their respective conferences the Tories will have to as well. Lib Dems was expected since Dr Julian Huppert, Lib Dem MP for Cambridge is co-chair of the APPCG but the Labour support is a bit of a surprise. Politics in action he said hopefully.

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Nezzer [3 posts] 2 years ago
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Like all MPs they promise the world but deliver nothing while in power. Talk is cheap.

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DeanF316 [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Why just repair amd maintain the roads or that too simple.

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arfa [720 posts] 2 years ago
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I seem to remember a pledge that Vauxhall was going to go "Dutch". Well so far nothing has changed

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Simon_MacMichael [2448 posts] 2 years ago
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arfa wrote:

I seem to remember a pledge that Vauxhall was going to go "Dutch". Well so far nothing has changed

Still going through planning as far as I can work out... part of a much bigger regeneration of the area (including infrastructure such as the junction). Looks like there was a consultation that closed earlier this year.

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arfa [720 posts] 2 years ago
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I live in hope but how long does it take for those in charge to just get it done ? Endless consultations cost money and delay delivery.

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crazy-legs [721 posts] 2 years ago
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Ah, the cycling bandwagon has arrived, let's just wait while all the politicians climb aboard...

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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Labour pledge to enthusiastically jump on any bandwagon that may gain votes, particularly from people who won't be at all surprised when all plans evaporate.

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pward [88 posts] 2 years ago
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Aye, talk's cheap (this side of the election anyway)....

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes it's words and I don't have a labour council that could implement any of this. Oh whoops yes I do. What arethey doing? Oh yeah, road building and turning cycle tracks and bridleways into roads... DEEDS NOT WORDS!

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Wolfshade [178 posts] 2 years ago
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Facta, non verba.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 2 years ago
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Having seen the host of uncosted and wild promises being made during their conference, I'm afraid I have little confidence in anything they say

Not that any of the others are any better by-the-way

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JonD [393 posts] 2 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:

Having seen the host of uncosted and wild promises being made during their conference, I'm afraid I have little confidence in anything they say

Not that any of the others are any better by-the-way

Although they also want it going to independant review:
http://labourlist.org/2013/09/balls-wants-the-obr-to-cost-labours-manife...

(apologies if that's viewed as a partisan link, but it was the first to hand)

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 2 years ago
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JonD wrote:
mad_scot_rider wrote:

Having seen the host of uncosted and wild promises being made during their conference, I'm afraid I have little confidence in anything they say

Not that any of the others are any better by-the-way

Although they also want it going to independant review:
http://labourlist.org/2013/09/balls-wants-the-obr-to-cost-labours-manife...

(apologies if that's viewed as a partisan link, but it was the first to hand)

I'm afraid that's posturing - that sort of thing is not within the remit of the OBR and the Labour leadership know it

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Cantab [92 posts] 2 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:
JonD wrote:
mad_scot_rider wrote:

Having seen the host of uncosted and wild promises being made during their conference, I'm afraid I have little confidence in anything they say

Not that any of the others are any better by-the-way

Although they also want it going to independant review:
http://labourlist.org/2013/09/balls-wants-the-obr-to-cost-labours-manife...

(apologies if that's viewed as a partisan link, but it was the first to hand)

I'm afraid that's posturing - that sort of thing is not within the remit of the OBR and the Labour leadership know it

Given how often the government gets departments to produce data/reports backing their political stances (which is outside their remit) it would seem like a legitimate use of the OBR to advance democracy by providing independent reports on party's proposed budgets allowing the public to actually be informed voters (God forbid!).

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nowasps [400 posts] 2 years ago
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Lot of Tories on here this morning...

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 2 years ago
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Cantab wrote:

<>

Given how often the government gets departments to produce data/reports backing their political stances (which is outside their remit) it would seem like a legitimate use of the OBR to advance democracy by providing independent reports on party's proposed budgets allowing the public to actually be informed voters (God forbid!).

Agreed - but right here, right now - it just won't happen, so Labour feel safe making 'requests' to do so

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congokid [261 posts] 2 years ago
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Per the headline: "restore road safety reduction targets" - is that really what we want?

Or am I missing something here?