Chris Ames 23 July 2019

MPs call for dedicated funding for active travel

MPs call for dedicated funding for active travel image

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.

Will First Homes address local need? image

Will First Homes address local need?

As a new form of affordable housing, First Homes, is set to come into effect from 28 June 2021, Matt Hare considers how will it impact on future development.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Principal Clinical/Counselling Psychologist

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Principal Clinical/Counselling PsychologistPermanent, Part Time£51,510 to £55,000 per annum (Pro Rata)The Divisional Based Intervention Team (D-BIT) a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director of Housing

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205 per annum      
This is an excellent time to work within Rotherham. We are passionate about the place and the people who live, work and visit here. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Joint Assistant Director – Commissioning and Performance

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205
As the Assistant Director, you will be passionate about achieving excellent performance and determined to... Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Social Workers - Family Support and Protection - North Essex

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Social Workers and Senior Practitioners- Family Support and Protection - North EssexPermanent, Full Time£32,065 to £49,183 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

School Attendance Lead

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
This is a multi-layered role, in which you'll both be a trusted advisor, and you will be representative of the legal need for... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue