Cycling campaigners attack Government's cycling revolution plans

Cycling needs "at least £10 a head" to catch up with Germany or Holland, they claim

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Indy Politics

The Government’s plan to double the number of British cyclists falls well short of David Cameron’s promise to herald a “cycling revolution”, campaigners have warned.

The Department of Transport has released proposals to double cycling by 2025 as it published a draft of its long-awaited consultation into cycling and walking policy. However cycling groups, including CTC and British Cycling, have attacked the Government for dragging its feet and failing to fully fund the plan, with the DFT only committing to an “aspiration” to double cycling per head spending by 2020.

According to the Department for Transport the plan details a “vision” that cycling, alongside walking, will become the “natural choice” for shorter journeys, regardless of age, gender, fitness or income. Cycling campaigners have reacted angrily though, with British Cycling saying the plan “falls short” of delivery on David Cameron’s promise and “does not commit any significant funding”, while cycling charity CTC called the plan “derisory”. 

Paul Tuohy, CTC’s chief executive, said: “The Prime Minister’s ‘cycling revolution’, with its Penny Farthing budget, is going nowhere unless the Chancellor finds funding for cycling in his Autumn Statement. Cycling needs at least £10 a head if we are even to begin catching up with German, Dutch or Danish levels of cycle use. If we can afford long term strategies for our roads and railways why not for cycling? It has such huge benefits to the economy and the environment, our waistlines and our wallets it would be foolish not to."

The policy was also attacked non-cycling campaigners. Ralph Smyth, transport campaign manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The DfT’s cycling delivery plan is a disappointment. The ambition for cycling to grow across England as it has in London is worthless without any new investment.

“Ministers say they been unable to find any more money for cycling and simply 'aspire to explore' new funding opportunities. But if they were willing to divert just two per cent of the record £24 billion roads budget, we could raise cycling investment to continental levels across the whole of England. We need to enjoy not destroy the countryside."

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill, said: “This Government is serious about making the UK a cycling nation. We have doubled funding since 2010, with £374 million committed between 2011 and 2015.”