Will lobby groups dominate UK government's consultation exercise? - BikeBiz

Will lobby groups dominate UK government's consultation exercise?

Probably. And cycling should make sure the motoring lobby doesn't get it all its own way. Tony Blair's 'Big Conversation' won't shape existing policy and is an ideas-generator for the future. A 77-page document poses 13 fundamental questions about the quality of life in the UK, including three area where increased cycling could have an impact: health, environment and transport.
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The Big Conversation - supported by a website - invites emails and 25p text messages from the public.

Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are calling it a New Labour "gimmick".

MORI, the market research group, believes the exercise will be hijacked by pressure groups rather than being a genuine sounding board for individuals.

The 13 questions are:

How do we build on economic stability?

How do we do more to tackle poverty and inequality?

How do we lead healthier lives?

How do we make our communities safe?

How do we give every child an excellent education?

How do we balance work and family life?

How do we ensure security and well-being in older age?

How do we provide a modern transport network?

How do we create a fair asylum and immigration system that benefits Britain?

How do we safeguard our environment for future generations?

How do we do more to connect politics and people?

How do we make Britain stronger in Europe?

How do we develop our concept of international community?

http://www.bigconversation.org.uk/

The website can accept photos as well as text.


On a different, but linked, topic a little bit of flesh has been put on the school travel proposals mentioned in Wednesday's Queen's Speech.

The government says that around twenty Councils will be allowed to carry out pilot projects to find innovative ways to improve school travel. The Draft School Travel Bill will also allow Councils to charge for some school bus services which are currently provided for free as long as they spend the money on improving school travel.

However, the CTC argues that the government must work to increase the availability of cycle training if its proposals to charge for school buses are not to increase car use and congestion on the school run.

Roger Geffen, CTC campaigns and policy manager, said: “In order to position cycling as a viable option for parents and children, CTC will argue that government should ensure that cycle training is available for all primary and secondary school children, and we will look for opportunities to include this in the Bill when it is published.

“CTC believes that quality cycle training schemes for pupils of all ages should be integral to the pilot programme, and that Councils should be required to make cycle training to recognised standards available for all pupils in their areas.”

The Queen’s speech also included details of a Traffic Management Bill which is intended to give Councils and the Highway Agency more powers to keep traffic moving, particularly by controlling road-works. Since cyclists are the group most greatly affected by poor quality roads, the CTC said it will seek to ensure that pressure to complete road works quickly does not result in a lowering of standards.

The CTC was disappointed that the anticipated Road Safety bill failed to materialise, and regards this as a missed opportunity for tighter legislation on speeding and other forms of dangerous driver behaviour.

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