Celebration for cycling in Brighton, but UK future unclear

Space for Cycling ride in Brighton at the Labour Party Conference in September 2015
Brighton and Hove has become the first non-London council formally to sign up to the Space for Cycling campaign promoted by CTC.

That was one piece of good news for the future of cycling on a day when Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn spending review slashed transport funding and punctured the Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘Cycling Revolution’.

According to reporting on Twitter from local campaigner Mark Strong (@ibikebrighton) the Green Group’s motion to back Space for Cycling in Brighton and Hove received 62% support from councillors – with the Conservatives abstaining. A Conservative amendment proposed by Cllr Tony Janio asking for a costed report was defeated.

CTC campaigner Sam Jones said: “The national Space for Cycling campaign aims to create the conditions where anyone can cycle anywhere.

“Brighton has clearly shown that it recognises the need for cycling and the enormous benefits it brings, just at the time the national government is poised to drastically damage Prime Minister David Cameron’s vision of a ‘Cycling Revolution’.

The council’s vote is great news for Brighton. On a national scale, however, the Chancellor’s spending review looks to spell bad news for bikes and buses."

Roger Geffen, CTC Policy Director

“We have asked people to call on their local councillors to support Space for Cycling. As the voting in Brighton shows, it would appear the Conservatives are oblivious to their leader’s dream for cycling – from his friend the Chancellor down to the party’s representatives at a local level.”

Roger Geffen, Policy Director at CTC, said: “The council’s vote is great news for Brighton. On a national scale, however, the Chancellor’s spending review looks to spell bad news for bikes and buses.

“All our sources indicate local authorities face a further squeeze, with major roads benefiting while the streets we live and work on suffer.”

Becky Reynolds, Campaigns Officer with Bricycles, the Brighton and Hove Cycling Campaign, said: “We are delighted that the City Council has voted to support CTC’s Space for Cycling campaign.

“There was agreement at yesterday’s Environment Transport and Sustainability committee to ask Brighton and Hove’s Chief Executive Officer to sign the council up to the initiative.

“This shows admirable unity of purpose between the Labour chair of the committee, Councillor Gill Mitchell, and the Green Group, led by Cllr Pete West, who tabled the motion.

“Bricycles has been promoting Space for Cycling since the start of the campaign led nationally by CTC. We now hope to see a continued and renewed focus at local level on the remaining barriers to cycling, particularly dealing with busy roads and dangerous junctions.”

The council also backed the idea of a ‘Boris Bike’ style hire scheme, as introduced in London by the capital’s Mayor, Boris Johnson MP. A provisional three-year contract will be put out to tender, with the idea of having 430 bikes available to hire from at least 50 docking stations in the city from May 2017.

There is still time for MPs to back cycling before the Department for Transport allocates its remaining funds to other projects. CTC has set up a simple online action and encourages all cyclists to write to their MPs asking them to support Funding for Cycling.