Alarm at pledge by new government to slash cycle funding

Adrian Wills's picture

Alarm at pledge by new government to slash cycle funding

Cycling UK has voiced its alarm at the prospect of the new Government slashing the level of funding for cycling in England to less than a quarter of its current levels for the next five years, following the results of the General Election.

Celebrating his party's election victory, Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to make the country 'the greenest, cleanest on earth.'

But with the Conservative manifesto launched during the election campaign pledging to spend just £70m a year on cycling infrastructure in England, outside of London, Cycling UK has serious concerns that active travel will not be at the forefront of its plans.

Cycling UK Chief Executive, Paul Tuohy, said: “This pledge would open up a chasm between what has been promised and what is actually needed.

“Former Transport Minister Jesse Norman acknowledged that funding would have to be at least doubled to meet the Government’s current target to double cycling trips by 2025. Yet but from next April there is absolutely zero money earmarked for local authorities to build new cycling and walking schemes.

“The Conservative manifesto commitment would see the current £7 per head being spent on walking and cycling in England, outside of London slashed to just £1.55 per head.

This would be an abject failure by this incoming government to address the climate, air pollution, congestion and inactivity-related health crises the country is now facing.

Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive

“This would be an abject failure by this incoming government to address the climate, air pollution, congestion and inactivity-related health crises the country is now facing.

“That’s why we will be writing to Boris Johnson demanding an urgent re-evaluation of his party’s spending pledge if he is truly serious about making the country ‘the greenest, cleanest on earth’.

Spending on cycling and walking has averaged around £390m a year over the last five years, but so far the Conservatives have promised to spend just £70m a year on cycling infrastructure over the next five years.

Cycling UK has been campaigning for an immediate rise in cycling and walking to at least 5% of total transport spend, increasing to at least 10% within five years.

Cycling UK says this level of funding is the minimum required for the Government to meet its targets of doubling cycling journeys in England by 2025, and to achieve similar levels of walking and cycling throughout the UK. 

We refuse to stand by idly and watch cycling and walking provision further eroded by a lack of central government funding.

Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive 

Mr Tuohy added: “We refuse to stand by idly and watch cycling and walking provision further eroded by a lack of central government funding.

“We will continue to fight hard for a sustainable level of spending not only to make our towns and cities welcoming places to travel around, but to create healthier and happier communities the length and breadth of England.”

Cycling UK’s election funding campaign, Standing Up for Cycling and Walking encouraged parliamentary candidates to pledge their support for increased funding for active travel.

A total of 664 candidates signed our pledge, of those 43 were elected on Thursday night.

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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19