Chris Ames 23 July 2019

MPs call for dedicated funding for active travel

MPs have criticised the Government for inadequate and ‘piecemeal’ active travel investment and called for a dedicated funding stream for local walking and cycling.

The Transport Select Committee said there were no guarantees that the £2bn ministers claimed will be spent on active travel over this parliament actually will be, as the fund is not ringfenced, and pointed out even if it was, it amounts to just 1.5% of total transport spending.

In a new report, Active Travel: increasing levels of walking and cycling in England, the Committee says the absence of ring-fenced or dedicated funding for active travel means active travel is left unprotected.

In addition to increased funding, the committee called for more ambitious targets and said ministers ‘must signal to local authorities and the public that active travel is a priority with long-term benefits for individuals and the country as a whole’.

Committee chair Lilian Greenwood MP stressed the importance of active travel in the context of road transport’s contribution to poor air quality and greenhouse gases.

She said: ‘In England, the vast majority of journeys over a mile are made in a car or van. Even for distances of one to two miles, more than 60% of journeys were made by motor vehicle and fewer than 2% of journeys are made by bike.

‘The Government must stand up for active travel. It must show real leadership by setting ambitious targets for cycling and especially walking. It must give local authorities the support and funding they need to engage the public and make active travel a priority in their areas. It must do whatever is necessary to persuade more people to get on their bike, or Shanks’ pony.’

MPs said the £2bn that the Government has claimed will be spent on active travel in this Parliament is ‘welcome’ but pointed out that it equates to just £400m a year.

MPs said: ‘This is a tiny sum compared with spending on other areas of transport, just 1.5% of total Government transport spending.’

The committee recommended that the Government revises its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) as ‘current targets for cycling and particularly walking are not ambitious enough’.

MPs welcomed the development of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) by local authorities with support from the Department for Transport (DfT) but noted that the LCWIP programme is a pilot, and that the initial support for developing these plans was made available on a competitive basis.

They said: ‘We believe that ultimately there should be LCWIPs for the whole of England.’

The DfT said the forthcoming Spending Review will consider the appropriate level of funding post 2020/2021 required to deliver the aims and objectives set out in the CWIS.

A spokesperson said: ‘We continue to look at ambitious plans to encourage more people to travel on foot or by bike as we refresh our strategy and look to maximise funding beyond 2020.’

This article first appeared on Transport Network.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Payroll Administrator

Northumberland County Council
£20,444 - £22,129
Northumberland County Council operates a huge range of services across one of the largest counties in the UK. Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Specialist Advisory Teacher - Developmental Language Disorder

Cumbria County Council
Teachers Pay and Conditions
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a new colleague, who is a qualified teacher, with expertise and experience of developmental language delay. Penrith, Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

ASYE Occupational Therapist - Long Term Intervention Team Kendal

Cumbria County Council
£28,226 – £29,174
We are looking for newly qualified Occupational Therapy professionals, who are passionate about their vocation and would like to join our team. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Social Worker - Long Term Intervention Team

Cumbria County Council
£31,895 – £32,798
Following an exciting and ambitious programme of change within Adult Social Care. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Strategic Communications Executive

Lancashire County Council
£30,095-£34,373
Do you believe in the power of communications to bring about change? Preston, Lancashire
Recuriter: Lancashire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.