First ever national cycling debate to take place ahead of election

First ever national cycling debate to take place ahead of election

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The UK Cycling Alliance (UKCA) will be hosting the first ever national cycling debate on Monday 2 March.

The Big Cycling Debate, hosted by UKCA and News UK, will be the first opportunity to hear about the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats’ manifesto commitments and ambitions on cycling ahead of the General Election in May.

Broadcaster John Humphrys will host the debate which will be attended by Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP (Conservatives), Shadow Transport Minister, Richard Burden (Labour), and Dr Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrats).

Speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Chris Boardman said: “In the last couple of years we’ve started to see real progress being made and a will to make the changes needed at the top to embed cycling into our culture.

“With the election just around the corner it will be interesting to hear what plans the major political parties have.

“With cycling more popular than it’s been in decades and a new clause in the Infrastructure Act that makes providing for cycling a legal requirement, we have what is perhaps a once in generation chance to change our country for the better.

“All of the cycling organisations in the alliance agree that leadership and sustained investment are key to transforming Britain into a cleaner, more liveable and healthier nation. I am anxious to hear which of the would-be leaders of this country have the vision to grasp this opportunity.”

Journalist Kaya Burgess, who started The Times’ ‘Cities fit for Cycling’ campaign following the serious injuries suffered by colleague Mary Bowers in a cycling accident in 2011, added: "In the three years since we launched the Cities Fit for Cycling campaign at The Times, we have seen the issue of cycle safety climb up the political agenda.

“Politicians have come to realise that getting more people cycling would remedy so many problems, from traffic jams and pollution to obesity and rising travel costs.

“A cycling clause in the new Infrastructure Act has just become law and will oblige the government to create a long-term strategy for boosting cycling and will ensure a dedicated budget for the first time.

“The Big Cycling Debate is our chance to get policy-makers to The Times's HQ in London and grill them on exactly how they will honour this pledge after the election. Britain leads the world in competitive cycling: it is time we did the same for commuter cycling too."

The event will take place in central London on Monday 2 March from 11.30-12.30pm. All members of the alliance will be live tweeting from the event using #cyclingdebate.