Thank you to the constituents who have contacted me about support for cycling as part of our recovery from COVID-19.
Although we continue to face the current pandemic, we cannot forget that we are still in a climate emergency and that green, efficient transport must be the future. We need to use this moment of societal upheaval to transition to greener forms of living, especially greener forms of travel such as cycling and walking.
I know that a survey highlighted by the Government in November showed that 65% of people across England support reallocating road space to cycling and walking in their local area. However, I have become increasingly concerned that the pace of change is too slow to ensure we will not see a return to previous travel habits.
Last year, the Government announced £2 billion of investment over five years for cycling and walking. This includes funding for councils to use for cycling and walking infrastructure measures. According to its own research, this amount is only a third of the minimum that will be required over the next five years to reach the existing target of doubling cycling and increasing walking by 2025.
Furthermore, Cycling UK has said that the money announced in November’s Spending Review for 2021-22 “shows the Government failing to meet its own commitments and objectives for funding cycling and walking in England”, with millions less announced than is needed to keep spending in line with the £2 billion commitment.
In November, the Government published its Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes commitments on cycling and walking. I do not believe the plan is anywhere near ambitious enough. We must increase our ambitions for the redesigning of urban spaces, including enabling more cities, towns and rural areas to develop local mobility plans.
I will continue to support calls for significant additional funding for more substantial change, so we can achieve a significant shift in the way we travel.