Julian Huppert MP, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, yesterday asked cycling minister Robert Goodwill about the progress being made in implementing the recommendations of last year’s Get Britain Cycling report, which was published by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.
This followed Goodwill’s comments earlier this week in an interview with The Times that the Conservatives would not be creating an annual budget for cycling provision in the run up to the election in 2015.
Goodwill was also asked by Huppert about the progress that was being made on a cross party action plan and the issue of spending £10 per head on cycling. Currently spending is around £2 per head and is only guaranteed for the next 13 months. Goodwill responded:
“We’ve actually doubled spending on cycling compared to the previous government. Eight cycling ambition cities have benefited from that level of funding.”
He also stated that the Highways Agency would be spending £40 million on cycling improvement schemes, though he didn’t specify over what time period or where this money would be spent.
John Cryer, MP for Leyton & Wansted, asked how we can take the fear out of cycling, bearing in mind a number of cyclists who have been killed on London’s roads.
Goodwill commented: “I think some of the media coverage particularly in London last year did give the impression that cycling was more dangerous than it actually is. It’s actually safer than it’s ever been.”
British Cycling called for strong political leadership at the launch of their Choose Cycling manifesto at the beginning of February. It is estimated that over £250 million could be saved by the NHS per year if just one in ten journeys were made by bike.
British Cycling campaigns manager, Martin Key said:
“It is great to see Julian still pursuing the cause tirelessly. As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, his work is vital to our cause. Strong political leadership is crucial if we are to make a change in this country and we need the government to start taking cycling seriously. We need sustained financial commitment over a long period of time in order to make a real difference.”