A Labour Government would create multi-department active travel board - BikeBiz

A Labour Government would create multi-department active travel board

Labour ups the ante on cycling, but cash pot is still too small.
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A Labour Government would "put cyclists and pedestrians at the top table of transport policy," says a press statement from the Labour Party. An Ed Miliband Government would create a cross-government Cyclist and Pedestrians’ Advisory Board to boost active travel.

In 2013, BikeBiz reported on the Coalition Government's plans to create the Office for Active Travel, but this was later pulled.

Labour's adoption of a similar model was introduced in a speech last night by Michael Dugher, the Shadow Transport Secretary. He was speaking at a Campaign for Better Transport event in London.

He said Labour is committed to implementing a long-term Cycling and Walking Strategy and wants cycling and pedestrian representatives to be at the heart of its development and implementation.

The new board would include ministers from across Whitehall, senior civil servants from the Departments for Transport, Education, Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government, as well as cycling and pedestrian representatives. An active travel strategy would then be put in place by summer 2016.

The press statement added: "to show the importance of cycling and walking to a Labour Department for Transport, the Secretary of State will chair the board meetings.

Labour will spend £250 million on cycling, safety and integration as part of the Road Investment Strategy – to put this in perspective, that's the cost of a few miles of motorway. Labour will also match the Government’s commitment to spend £114 million on cycling in eight cities across the country. It will also set "ambitious targets" to increase cycling and walking participation and to improve road safety, and will also continue to fund and support Bikeability cycle training.

And, as well as introducing a "powerful" HGV Safety Charter (which will call on all HGVs to be fitted with safety kit), a Labour Government would ensure "justice is done and seen to be done in cases where collisions lead to cyclist deaths and serious injuries."

Dugher said:

“Over the last five years, this Tory-LibDem Government has ignored the interests of pedestrians and failed to deliver on the promise of a ‘cycling revolution’.

“Boosting cycling and walking is a big priority for Labour – it's good for our transport system, for public health and crucially for our environment. That's why we have an ambitious package to promote active travel in government.

"Only by listening and learning from cyclists and pedestrians themselves, and inviting them to sit at the top table, will we be able to deliver the big changes we need across the country.”

Dugher wants to see an end to "stop-start" funding, a key criticism from the Get Britain Cycling report of 2013.

"Since the Government scrapped annual funding for Cycling England, it has been impossible to have a clear idea of where and how money is being spent. The lack of certainty and stop-start funding has resulted in an absence of expertise within local authorities, who are unable to plan and invest for long-term, effective change. So we will also commit to an in-depth review of how all government departments, agencies, local government, LEPs and the private sector are currently investing in walking and cycling. This will help determine the scale, sources and distribution of per capita funding we need for the future."

According to Labour's press statement, the party wants to "move cycling and walking from the margins to the mainstream - not only swelling the ranks of people cycling and walking to work, but giving people from all walks of life the confidence to ride a bike. We will ensure that we change how our streets our designed, improve traffic management and enforcement, and encourage people to change their travel behaviours."

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