Cycling UK is “alarmed” at the prospect of a new Government slashing the level of funding for cycling in England to less than a quarter of its current levels for the next five years.
Responding to the result of the 2019 General Election, in which the Conservatives won a majority, Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “The Conservatives in their manifesto have promised to spend just £70 million a year on cycling infrastructure, opening up a chasm between what has been promised and what is actually needed.
“Former transport minister Jesse Norman conceded that funding would have to be at least doubled to meet the Government’s current target to double cycling trips by 2025, but from next April there is absolutely zero money earmarked for local authorities for cycling and walking infrastructure.”
The manifesto said the Conservatives will create a new £350 million Cycling Infrastructure Fund, over five years, with mandatory design standards for new routes. It will also extend Bikeability to every child and will work with the NHS to promote cycling for healthier living. The Tories will also launch a pothole-filling programme as part of its National Infrastructure Strategy – and said its investment in roads will ensure new potholes are “much less likely to appear in the future”.
“The Conservative manifesto commitment would see the current £7 per head currently being spent on walking and cycling in England, outside of London to just £1.55 per head,” Tuohy continued. “This would be an abject failure by this incoming Government to address the climate, air pollution, congestion and inactivity-related health crises the country is now facing.
“That’s why we will be writing to Boris Johnson demanding an urgent re-evaluation of his party’s spending pledge if he is truly serious about making the country ‘the greenest, cleanest on earth’.”
Earlier this year, Sustrans called on all political parties to take bold action on road transport emissions and prioritise walking and cycling in its manifesto for the election. It called on the next UK Government to provide a sustained long-term investment in walking and cycling, including at least 5% of the transport budget to be spent on walking and cycling by 2020/21, rising to at least 10% before 2024/25.