Cycling UK has written to the Transport Secretary, calling for action on the ‘active travel funding crisis’.
The national cycling charity has said action is now “desperately needed” to avert a ‘climate crisis, congestion crisis, pollution crisis and an inactivity-related health crisis.’
It said there is a “desperate requirement” for at least a doubling of investment in walking and cycling in England in the next year, and a further doubling of funding before 2025 to achieve the Government’s own targets for active travel.
The Government is due to publish its own research into the funding required to meet the Department for Transport’s aims for cycling and walking by 2025, after it admitted its current policy would only see it achieving a third of its aim to double cycling trips.
Cycling UK said it wants that research published at the “earliest opportunity”.
The letter, from chief executive Paul Tuohy to the minister, said: “Investment in cycling could make a huge and remarkably cost-effective contribution to tackling several of the economic, health and environmental challenges now facing our country. “
He added: “We are currently facing a climate crisis, a congestion crisis, a pollution crisis and an inactivity-related health crisis.
“Underlying all of these crises is an ‘underfunding of cycling and walking crisis’, which has persisted for decades under Governments of all hues. It is therefore increasingly critical that you seize the forthcoming Spending Review to address it with the urgency it requires.”
The letter came on the day the Transport Select Committee published a report also recommending the Government to increase funding for active travel.
The report said: “The Department for Transport should propose a long-term funding settlement for active travel, increasing over time. This would give the signals necessary to local authorities to make active travel a priority.
“The Department for Transport should seek appropriate funds from the Treasury to ensure the delivery of new, ambitious targets in the revised Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy that we have called on the Department to adopt.”
The Government is expected to launch its Spending Review within the next few weeks and should announce its conclusions by the end of the year.
Cycling UK’s letter continued: “The aim must surely be to ensure that the forthcoming Spending Review delivers a renewed Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy that genuinely transforms our roads, streets and communities into clean, safe and attractive places to live, shop, work or move around on foot or by cycle, for the benefit of our health, our economy and our quality of life.”