The Government is in serious danger of missing its targets to increase levels of cycling and walking in England unless there is an increase in funding, three leading charities have said.
Cycling UK and Living Streets are running a joint campaign, supported by Sustrans, urging the Government to allocate more funding to help authorities in devising plans to encourage more cycling and walking.
Giving evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee inquiry into active travel yesterday (23 Jan), the charities said the impact of cycling and walking – when it comes to addressing obesity and air pollution – will be ‘limited’ without additional funding.
The Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), published in 2017, sets out to double the number of cycling trips by 2025, with similar aims to increase levels of walking, particularly for school journeys.
However, in a safety review document to support the strategy, published last November, the DfT admitted its current policy would only see levels of cycling increase by a third over the next six years.
At present, 2% of total transport spending is on cycling and walking, but the alliance of charities say this should rise to at least 5% by 2020, and 10% by 2024 – with a large proportion allocated to support local authorities.
Roger Geffen, Cycling UK’s policy director, who gave evidence to the committee, said:
“Cycling is a miracle pill that can cure a lot of the ills this Government is facing with air pollution and the physical health problems associated with inactivity.
“However, by its own admission, the Government is not going to meet its own modest targets to double cycling, which Cycling UK believes is due to inadequate funding. Cycling UK believes Government should rebalance its spending to local solutions to car dependence.
“It’s not the people currently cycling who will benefit from more funding, but rather those who feel forced to drive those short distances to school, work or the shops due to having no suitable alternative.”