At the end of January, the Coalition Government’s ‘minister for cycling’ Norman Baker told The Guardian:
"If we reached Dutch levels [of cycle use] I’d be ecstatic, but I can’t see us getting there."
This lack of ambition for one form of green transport is not evidenced in other Government departments. Last week three Government departments jointly released a report which said the UK Government’s would seek to subsidise the nascent hydrogen fuel market by pump priming it with £418m in order to build filling stations for FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles).
The expensive report for the UK H2Mobility project – written by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm – claimed that these filling stations would be loss-making until after 2020. There would be only 10,000 sales of hydrogen vehicles by this date but there would be surge in the ten year afterwards, with 1.6 million H2 vehicles on the (congested) roads of Britain by 2030. Edmund King, president of the AA, told BikeBiz such plans are fanciful: "Not sure H2 is going to take off any time soon."
Membership of the UK H2Mobility project comprises three Government departments (Transport, Business and Energy) vehicle manufacturers (Nissan, Hyandai, Toyota, Daimler), hydrogen producers, a fuel retailer (Morrisons), an energy utility, equipment manufacturers and others.
The lean, green vehicle staring Government in the face – a vehicle which is nimble and quick, and even of benefit to the user’s health – is tried and tested and of massive benefit in reducing congestion in cities and reducing noxious air, too. Why doesn’t this revolutionary vehicle get expensive reports written about it? Shouldn’t the UK Government commission McKinsey & Company to produce a report on the massive – but largely untapped – potential of the bicycle?