Norris to be grilled by cycle-loving MPs at next week's Parliamentary Bike Ride

Steven Norris, chair of the National Cycling Strategy Board, will be quizzed on his plans to deliver significant increases in cycle use when MPs and peers gather for the start of the 2002 Parliamentary Bike Ride on 18th June.
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Jane Griffiths MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG), plans to put the former transport minister on the spot by asking him how he and his Board can deliver a quadrupling in cycle use by 2012.

"We need to see conditions for cycling and cyclists improve fast. What better way than to put Mr Norris under starters orders by inviting him to this year's cycle ride to tell us how he will deliver the National Cycling Strategy targets," said Griffiths.

The APPCG wants practical measures to make cycling more attractive.

"Cycling is good for your health, gets you there more quickly, and in the UK more people can cycle than can drive. We must do more to bring cycling levels here closer to other European countries," said Griffiths.

After the question and answer session, Norris, along with other NCS Board members and 60 MPs and Peers, will mount their bikes and cycle en masse from Victoria to the Palace of Westminster. The Parliamentary Bike Ride is held every year during Bike Week.

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group is one of the largest cross-party groups in the current Parliament. (Oddly enough, the beer and whisky groups tend to be popular).

The APPCG has 83 members, 53 in the Commons, 30 in the Lords. The group holds monthly meetings.

Steven Norris, a transport minister in the last Conservative government, was appointed to Chair the new NCS Board by transport minister John Spellar MP late in 2001. The Board's remit is to implement the National Cycling Strategy targets. The NCS Board has executive powers and has a £2m projects fund to help fund new cycling projects in England, as well as a 20 strong Regional Cycling Development Team that has recently been appointed to help bring about concrete improvements all across the country.

The National Cycling Strategy was pushed through by Norris in 1996 and has always had all-party support. The central target is to quadruple cycle use by 2012 from the 1996 level.

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