Conservatives aim to increase spending on cycling to £10 per person per year

Conservatives aim to increase spending on cycling to £10 per person per year

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The Conservative Party leader David Cameron has pledged that the party would “aim to increase spending further” on cycling to £10 per person per year, in a response sent to British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling network.

The #ChooseCycling network – a group of major British businesses that believe more cycling would be good for their employees and customers – wrote to party leaders in March asking for four key commitments on cycling to be included in manifestos.

Sharing the belief that investing in cycling will help business thrive, encourage people to live healthier lives and to make Britain a more pleasant place to live, the network asked parties to commit to allocate 5% of Britain’s transport budget to cycling, and to set a target for cycling to account for up 10% of all trips.

The response received from the Conservative party pledges to “double cycling by 2025” with an ambition to make cycling “the natural choice for shorter journeys.”  

In the letter, David Cameron has confirmed that he is “huge cycling fan” and says that he wants to “go further” and “realise our ambition to make the UK a true cycling nation,” echoing the calls he made in 2013 for a “cycling revolution.”

Setting out further measures that would make a different to cyclists, Cameron writes about “trialling new dedicated cycle streets which would allow councils to put cyclists and motorists on an equal footing…banning overtaking.”   

However, the letter is tempered with a declaration that the party would stick with its long term economic plan to cut the deficit, stating that “this is something we can only afford if we continue to secure a strong economy.”

Commenting on the response, British Cycling’s policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “It’s great to hear that the Conservative party wants to increase spending further to £10 per person per year. However, it’s clear that they see this as a long-term aim rather than something they will bring in now.

"With HS2 and other transport schemes set to cost many billions over the term of the next parliament, it’s hard to see why further money cannot be allocated to sustainable transport – especially given its ability to transform Britain’s health, improve air quality and reinvigorate our towns and cities.

“The fact is that Britain can only become a cycling nation with significant investment behind it. The £200 million that the Conservative party has already pledged to make cycling safer will only scratch the surface.

“Having said that, it is heartening to hear about plans to introduce several key measures to improve the experience of cycling, such as dedicated cycle streets, low level traffic signals and bigger cycle boxes at traffic lights.”  

Tomorrow British Cycling will publish the response that it has had from the Scottish National Party. The #ChooseCycling network is still waiting for responses from the Labour Party, Plaid Cymru and UKIP.

Image: Flickr: DFID - UK Department for International Development - Creative Commons