The Government should today announce the promised funds that will be allocated to the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. However, it’s expected that much of the announcement will be hot air because the Treasury has yet to agree to central funding for the strategy, which it is required to do by statute. UPDATE: It *will* be just hot air, see Gov’t delays cash announcement for cycling & walking; urges localism.
Known by its acronym CWIS, or "Cee-whizz", the 36th of 36 announcements today has been listed, wrongly, as the Walking and Cycling Investment Strategy.
Such a slip-up doesn’t bode well for the funding breakdown that we already know from the Comprehensive Spending Review will fall far short of what cycle campaigners have been demanding since parliament’s Get Britain Cycling inquiry and follow-up report of 2013.
Following November’s Autumn statement from the Chancellor the Sustrans policy director Jason Torrancesaid:
“Unless further detail emerges that increases cycling and walking investment, Government will simply not be able to keep manifesto commitments to double cycling and reduce those killed and seriously injured on our roads. The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, which the Government is compelled to publish by law, will not be funded.”
The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy received its Royal Assent in February and came into force in July – it was included as part of the Infrastructure Act.
CWIS, which applies in England only, places a duty on the Government to set out a long-term vision to increase walking and cycling, a statement of funds allocated to achieve those aims, and a detailed investment plan identifying objectives, with the legal requirement to report to parliament on the progress made.
The Get Britain Cycling report recommended that the Treasury should allocate at least £10 per head per year to cycling.
Earlier in the year Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy adviser, said:
“The Government deserves praise for committing to [CWIS] but it’s what happens next which is the real test."
He urged there should be "reprioritisation of existing funds so that we can capture the health, economic and transformational powers of cycling to transform our towns and cities" and added that "compared to the cost of roads or HS2 cycling is peanuts, just 5 percent of transport spend would begin to transform the country and make cycling an integrated part of daily life.”