British Cycling calls cycling investment levels ‘laughably low'
The government is offering to invest less than £1 per person into the nation's cycling infrastructure in a move that has been criticized as ‘laughably low,' by British Cycling.
Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group‘s inquiry into the government's commitment to cycling on Monday, Chris Boardman said: "It is simply not possible to make cycling the ‘natural choice' for short journeys by investing less than £1 per head - less than the cost of a cup of coffee.
"As the government [runs] the country, I'd hope they know this," he said.
The two-hour inquiry took evidence from the Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP, Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman as well as cycling organisations and transport experts on recent government proposals outlined in the consultation for the ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy'.
Ahead of the inquiry, Ruth Cadbury MP said "The Cycling and Walking Strategy is a first for Government, so it is to be welcomed and deserves proper scrutiny. Our inquiry will seek to be assured that the Government is able to meet its laudable aim of making cycling ‘the natural choice for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey'.
"We will want to establish if the Government's proposed funding of £300m is enough to meet their targets for greater rates cycling in the UK."
Alex Chalk, the Tory MP for Cheltenham, said: "Last time the All Party Cycling Group held an inquiry it drew significant cross party interest and sparked the beginning of a ‘cycling revolution'.
"This inquiry is to make sure that revolution hasn't gone flat. We know there is overwhelming cross-party agreement to promote cycling - and we believe that Government should do it all can to promote and support a sustainable form of transport, that relieves congestion, addresses climate change and health issues, whilst at the same time making a valuable contribution to the local economy."
At the meeting, Boardman addressed the government's draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy on behalf of the #ChooseCycling Network.
"If I were presenting the government's cycling investment strategy as a workable proposal for any of the businesses in the #ChooseCycling Network, I would be laughed out of the room," Mr Boardman told MPs.
He added "The longer cycling gets treated as an afterthought or a charity case, the longer we are missing out on a unique opportunity to create a healthier, happier and more active nation."
British Cycling said the investment levels proposed in the government's Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy were "laughably low", adding that the investment would "fall a long way short of being able to transform Britain into the healthier, more active country that we all want to see".
After the inquiry Ruth Cadbury, who is also co-chair of the APPCG, said: "We heard from all the major cycling organisations who said that the funding that has been earmarked for cycling, is not nearly enough to significantly increase cycling levels. The Minister told us that spending has tripled. We will consider both of these arguments before we publish our report in early June."
Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill said: "Our Cycling and Walking Strategy will benefit the whole of society by boosting the economy, improving health, cutting congestion and improving air quality. We have committed over £300 million to support cycling and walking over this Parliament and are also providing more than £6 billion for local road maintenance which will benefit cyclists as well as motorists, covering roads and cycle paths.
"Delivering this long term plan will require patience, persistence and a change in attitudes - amongst Government, local bodies, businesses, communities and individuals. We are determined to make this country a cycling and walking nation."