Why should cycling and walking receive #morethanmilk?

Should funding for roads dramatically more than that of cycling and walking?
Sam Jones's picture

Why should cycling and walking receive #morethanmilk?

As the Government inches towards publishing its first Cycling and Walking Strategy (CWIS) for England, Cycling UK campaigner Sam Jones explains why funding for cycling (and walking) should be #morethanmilk.

On Monday 23 May, the deadline will close for the consultation phase on the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (see also Cycling UK's full response or a summary version). Then the long months of waiting for the official response will begin. Current promises and projections for publishing are for the end of summer, so most likely we can probably expect it in the late autumn.

The hope will be that Government has listened to experts, MPs, Peers, and the wider public, who have informed the consultation process, to produce a document worthy of their ambition.

And it is a worthy ambition. In the CWIS consultation the Government states, "We want to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey".

However, the proposed deeds and funding within the strategy to meet the ambition currently fall flat.

Central funding for cycling and walking is set at a measly £300m for the next five years. By our calculations that means everyone in England outside of London, will be allocated 72p per head (roughly the price of 2 pints of milk) by 2020. That’s a far cry from the Prime Minister's and Cycle Minister Robert Goodwill MP’s promises of £10 per head – unless they are expecting local authorities to find the extra £9.28 per head…which clearly most cannot.

We’re told repeatedly that we are going through a period of austerity, so some might claim funding for cycling and walking has to tighten its belt at the moment. However, when you compare how funding for motorways and trunk roads will sky rocket over the coming 5 years to approximately £86 per head (about the same as a magnum of the champagne Moet et Chandon), this doesn’t appear to add up.

We firmly believe cycling and walking should receive funding that is more than the price of milk, particularly at a time when we are spending so lavishly on our roads."

Sam Jones
Cycling UK campaigner

Our local road networks, where cycling and walking typically happen, are set to suffer while our motorways are effectively gold plated.

Currently England is routinely failing in meeting its cleaner air commitments. The cost to the NHS through obesity and inactivity is rising. However, rather than seeking to tackle these problems, investment for active travel continues to be cut while funding for transport which contributes to both inactivity and pollution soars.

That is why we have launched our #morethanmilk action. We firmly believe cycling and walking should receive funding that is more than the price of milk, particularly at a time when we are spending so lavishly on our roads.

Cycling UK, working with Sustrans, the Bicycle Association, British Cycling, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Cyclenation, Living Streets, and the London Cycling Campaign, has identified five key areas which will ensure the CWIS will be successful, if they are included:

  1. A pathway towards achieving the Government’s ambition for cycling and walking in England.
  2. A plan to at least to meet clear targets for both cycling and walking and other outcomes.
  3. A package of committed Government investment and other potential funding to deliver the Strategy.
  4. A framework for assessing performance.
  5. Independent governance that challenges and supports.

We’re asking MPs to add their names to a joint letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, supporting these five areas, and asking for him to include them in the CWIS. So far over 40 have responded – close to a 10th of English MPs who can help make a difference.

Our #morethanmilk action lets you add your voice to our appeal. If you think the Government should spend #morethanmilk on your allocation of the cycling and walking budget then take action now!

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