Government urged “not to lose momentum” in delivering on active travel

Cycling UK has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to urge the Government “not to lose momentum” in delivering on its promises to support active travel.

With less than a week until Parliament rises for its summer recess on 22nd July, Roger Geffen, Cycling UK’s policy director, said he was concerned that many of the proposals announced by the Government in May, including publication of a national walking and cycling plan, have still not been delivered. Cycling UK believes that if action is not taken soon, a “golden opportunity” to build on the increase in cycling since lockdown began could be lost.

Geffen welcomed the action taken so far, including £250 million in emergency active travel funding (EATF), the first £45 million of which has recently been allocated to allow local authorities to reallocate road space for cycling and walking. However, in his letter, he points out that a promise to deliver a national cycling plan in early June has “not been kept”, and “no further announcements” made on when it might be coming.

“There appeared to be a sense of urgency, and listening to your speech I was therefore encouraged to hear that, over the next few months, the Government would set out further measures to make a “once in a generation” change to the way people travel in Britain, including tough new standards for cycling infrastructure, and an inspectorate to uphold them,” Geffen wrote.

“June passed by, however, without publication of any plan or the new design standards, particularly timely having now asked councils to start drawing up EATF Tranche 2 plans for more permanent measures, or further detail of the further measures trailed in your speech, or the timescales for their implementation.

“I wholeheartedly share the Prime Minister’s aspiration, that the near future “should be a golden new age for cycling”, but with overall road traffic levels back to 83% of those recorded before the 23rd March lockdown began, I am increasingly concerned that the best opportunity we have ever had to achieve these transformational changes is slipping through our fingers.”

Cycling UK remains keen to work with the Government on delivering its plans to increase the numbers of people cycling beyond the COVID crisis but with a Parliamentary recess looming, the charity said it fears ‘an active travel recovery’ will not begin until the autumn.

“Parliament rises in a [less than] week, and I don’t know whether the cycling plan or any of the measures announced in May will be published before recess, and if not whether this means that changing the way we move and an active travel recovery will be parked until September,” Geffen wrote.

Read the July edition of BikeBiz below:

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