The future of the Cycling City project is safe – at least until the axe falls on Cycling England early next year – one of its executive members has told BikeBiz.
The project – an experiment to see if raising funding for cycling to European levels impacts on the level of cycling – has been found to be a major success according to DfT measurements.
Government research revealed that cycling increased by 27 per cent in the Cycling Towns, bucking the downward trend in cycling levels seen outside London. The DfT also found investment in cycling was so cost effective that for every £1 spent, £3 was saved.
The project is now being run across 17 towns and one city (Bristol). Despite the fact that Cycling England was heavily involved in the project – including distributing funding, Cycling City executive member councillor Dr. Jon Rogers told BikeBiz that the future of the project was secure.
“Bristol City Council understands Cycling England is to close as part of a wider picture of reform by central Government,” Dr Rogers told BikeBiz. “However, the council is pleased that this will have limited affect on the planned delivery of Bristol’s programme.
“The contract and financial agreement have always been, and will continue to be, with the Department for Transport, and assurances have been given that the budget is safe.
“Further, it is likely that the good results so far achieved by Cycling City – 25 cycle paths have been built or improved, and journeys by bike have increased by 44 per cent in some parts of the city – will not exclude the council from bidding for a grant from the recently announced Sustainable Transport Fund in order to further the project’s ambitions.
“Bristol City Council urges careful consideration of the potential affects of a break in funding and the cessation of a training resource.”
UPDATE: This article has been updated to emphasise that the Cycling City and Towns project has only had its future guaranteed until March 2011. The fate of the scheme beyond this date has yet to be confirmed.