ClientEarth win means Government must rebalance roads investment towards cycling

Cycling UK wants more investment in non-polluting forms of transport
Cycling UK today (Wednesday 2 November 2016) celebrated ClientEarth’s victory in the High Court against the Government over its failure to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK, and called on Government to rebalance its investment in roads towards cycling and walking

The presiding judge, Mr Justice Garnham, ruled this morning that the Government’s 2015 Air Quality Plan failed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling or relevant EU Directives.

ClientEarth’s legal challenge followed its previous 2015 victory in the Supreme Court, which ordered ministers to devise a plan to bring air pollution down within legal limits as soon as possible. ClientEarth took the Government back to the High Court in a Judicial Review this November, deeming its plans “poor”.

With road traffic widely recognised as one of the largest contributors to air pollution, Cycling UK wants the Government to rebalance its £15bn Road Investment Strategy towards non-polluting forms of transport such as cycling and walking, which are set to receive only £300m up until 2021 through the forthcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

Cycling UK has calculated this to mean that by 2020/21 the Government’s investment in cycling and walking will have declined to just 72 pence per person (outside of London), compared to £84 per head for trunk roads and motorways.

Policy Director, Roger Geffen MBE, said:

“Cycling UK hopes ClientEarth’s victory will act as a wake-up call to Government that it needs to stop dithering on dirty air, and address its root causes, such as motor traffic.

“Government should rebalance its spending on roads towards its long-awaited Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, which will fulfil its ambition to normalise cycling for shorter day-to-day journeys.”

Notes to editors

1. The Department for Transport has so far committed £318m of Government funding for its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (i.e. not including local authority contributions) over the period 2016/17 to 2020/21. This comprises:

  • £99m to continue the Cycling Cities Ambition Grant programme in eight English cities to 2018/19
  • £50m to continue Bikeability cycle training through to 2019/20
  • £85m for Highways England to deliver walking and cycling improvements along or across its network of trunk roads and motorways
  • £80m for an Access fund, to promote sustainable travel

2. The tail-off in funding means that the Government’s contribution to its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is set to fall by 65% over this period - its planned spending amounts to £2.07 per person outside London in 2016/17, declining to just 72p in 2020/21.

3. Capital investment in the motorway and trunk road network is set to more than double over the same period, from £1.83bn (or £40 per person outside London) in 2016/17, to £3.86bn (or £84 per person outside London) in 2020/21.

4. Cycling UK is a partner of the Healthy Air Campaign:

5. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.

Press contact information

Cycling UK Press Office
Telephone: 01483 238 315