The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking (APPGCW) has launched an inquiry to determine how to harness potential for active travel in England ahead of the government’s forthcoming second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, also known as CWIS2.
As part of the inquiry, which goes by the name Reaching Our Active Travel Potential, the APPGCW is inviting selected experts and stakeholders to three oral evidence sessions that it is hosting next month, similar in style to a parliamentary select committee inquiry.
People will also be able to submit written evidence to the inquiry, with the APPGCW’s report due to be published in September.
The first Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS1) was published in 2017, by then Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, and promised £1.2 billion over five years in a bid to double levels of cycling in England by 2025.
As active travel journalist Laura Laker explained in an opinion piece for road.cc published last year a fortnight before the country entered its first lockdown, the £1.2 billion for 2016-21 comes from a variety of funding pots, with only £314 million specifically ringfenced for cycling.
However, the same post pointed out that according to the Walking & Cycling Alliance – which brings together the Bicycle Association, Cycling UK, the Ramblers, British Cycling, Living Streets and Sustrans – and the government’s own figures, between £5 billion and £6 billion is needed over the next five years just to double cycling’s share of all trips to 4 per cent.
The APPGCW said there is now “a unique opportunity to change the way we travel for the better, but that can only be done with sufficient funding and commitment at government level,” and wants to gather views ahead of the release of CWIS2, expected in the coming months.
APPGCW co-chair Ruth Cadbury MP, the Labour MP for Brentford & Isleworth, said: “We’re delighted to be launching this inquiry today.
“There has never been a better time for us to address how active travel can be improved and promoted, building on the growing enthusiasm for cycling and walking.
“Our inquiry will aim to constructively inform the Government’s second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, by bringing together a wide and diverse range of stakeholders and experts.”
The government has made encouraging active travel a key part of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, with Boris Johnson last year heralding “a new golden age for cycling,” with the subsequent publication of the Gear Change strategy.
Selaine Saxby, the Conservative MP for North Devon, who co-chairs the APPGCW, said: “As a group of parliamentarians committed to improving cycling and walking for all, we’re delighted with the ambition shown by the Government in recent years.
“This inquiry is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved in active travel to give their views on how the second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy can deliver the change that we all want to see.” she added
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.