CTC calls for ambition and funding commitment in Cycle Strategy

Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill MP and CTC Chair Prof David Cox at the Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham
CTC has responded to the Department for Transport's consultation on their draft Cycling Delivery Plan, calling for greater ambition and a commitment to at least £10 per head per year.

CTC yesterday (Thursday 13 November) submitted its response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on its draft Cycling Delivery Plan

Published on 16 October, mere minutes before a Parliamentary debate on the future of cycling, the draft plan was labelled as a “Cycling Derisory Plan” by CTC for its lack of ambition and commitment to funding. Despite its last minute publication, MPs still debated the draft plan at length, with the majority questioning the Government’s reluctance to provide a commitment to cycling.

The draft plan set out the Government’s ambition to double cycling from its current level of 08.bn trips to 1.6bn trips by 2025. CTC says that this figure does not represent a true doubling of cycling, as it fails to take into account population growth and the expected increase in London cycle use. In reality, an increase to 1.6bn stages represents a 74 per cent increase in cycling trips per person outside of London and would mean that England would only reach Dutch level of cycle use just before the beginning of the 23rd century.

The Government’s aspiration is that…we can together explore how we can achieve a minimum funding packet equivalent to £10 per person per year"
Cycling Delivery Plan, p7

On funding, the draft plan was especially cagey, failing to mention specific sums that would be dedicated to cycling. Instead, it talked of “aspirations…to explore”. CTC has long backed the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s (APPCG) report Get Britain Cycling, which makes the case clear that Britain needs an ambitious, but achievable target for cycle growth, i.e. 10 per cent of all journeys by 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050, with funding of at least £10 per head per year rising to £20 as cycle journeys increases.  

In CTC’s consultation response to the draft plan, the twin issues of cycle growth and funding were raised with recommendations mirroring those of the Get Britain Cycling report. CTC also delved into the minutiae of the draft, highlighting flaws and omissions while presenting constructive suggestions to make the Government’s 10 year cycle strategy more robust and fit for purpose.

Using the five “litmus tests” below, CTC found that in its current format the Government’s strategy could do with improvement in each of these areas:

  1. Leadership and ambition;
  2. Sustained investment;
  3. Consistent high design standards;
  4. Safety measures; and
  5. Positive promotion

CTC’s full response can be found in the document below. As well as the aforementioned need to address the draft plan’s ambition and lack of investment, highlights include CTC’s recommendation for the formation of an Active Travel Consortium (ATC). CTC believes a properly funded and supported ATC would provide a valuable mechanism for reporting, monitoring and facilitating the progress of the Government’s cycling strategy.

In addition to CTC's lobbying on the Cycling Delivery Plan, we are also collaborating with Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Campaign for Better Transport, British Cycling, Living Streets and Sustrans in seeking cross-party support for an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, which is currently before Parliament. The Infrastructure Bill is set to deliver the biggest shake-up to the roads network in a generation, backed by a Roads Investment Strategy, yet there is no comparable funding provision for cycling or walking. The proposed amendment would rectify this, by requiring the Government to adopt a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy too.

The Lords will have an opportunity to debate this amendment in the third reading of the Bill on Wednesday 19 November.

Update: Since CTC submitted its response to the Cycling Delivery Plan, the Department for Transport has extended the consultation period until 27 November, at the request of local authorities.  By the original closing date (13th November), they had already received around 1,000 responses.