The Walking and Cycling Alliance (Bicycle Association, the Bikeability Trust, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans) and Women in Transport have today responded to the Government’s Transport Update, published on 9 March, 2023. In a statement the Alliance said:
“It is heart-breaking to see vital active travel budgets wiped away in England, at the exact time when they are most essential to UK economic, social and environmental prospects.
“It simply doesn’t make sense to withdraw investment in active travel at this time, particularly as it contributed £36.5 billion to the UK economy in 2021.
“Representing a two-thirds cut to promised capital investment in safe infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling, these cuts are a backward move for active travel and will counteract the tremendous progress we’ve seen in recent years. These cuts will leave England lagging far behind other UK nations and London, at a time when we need to be raising the bar everywhere.
“Promised Government targets of 50% of all journeys in English towns and cities being walked or cycled by 2030, and for the UK to be Net Zero by 2050, are made impossible by these cuts.
“People walking, wheeling and cycling take 14.6 million cars off the road, saving 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
“More than ever, people want and need support to walk, wheel or cycle, and these cuts will impact those that would have benefited most, limiting our choice to travel healthily, cheaply and emissions-free.”
The group has also written to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to urge him to commit to maintaining the funding set out in CWIS2 back in July 2022. Read the letter.
This is in response to the government which has announced funding cuts to the Department for Transport budget. This will result in delays to capital infrastructure projects across road, rail and active travel. Capital projects are infrastructure including new roads, bus routes and cycle lanes. As it stands, no funding cuts have been announced for revenue projects, which includes behaviour change programmes like Bikeability but this is currently being scrutinised by government. Read more here.
We stand together with our fellow Walking and Cycling Alliance members in calling for government to reverse the significant cut to active travel capital projects. We believe these are vital in helping to activate the skills and experience we teach children and families through Bikeability and help government reach its 2030 targets.
In response to the announcement Emily Cherry, CEO at the Bikeability Trust added:
“Without investment, it will be impossible for the Bikeability Trust to deliver the government’s manifesto pledge to offer Bikeability cycle training to every child. No increase in funding will lead to children leaving school without the life skill of cycling, which in turn could condemn them to adulthood behind the wheel, navigating dangerous neighbourhoods and breathing dirty air.
“Properly funding Bikeability is about so much more than cycle training. It’s about giving children transport choice and independence, helping families save money on fuel costs and creating more pleasant places to live. Enabling more people to leave the car at home and choose active travel is essential for the health of environment, economy and nation. Without sufficient funding for both capital projects and behaviour change initiatives like Bikeability, we risk abandoning an entire generation by failing to equip them with the skills they need to live a greener, healthier and happier life. We urge Government to protect the full active travel budget.”
If you are a Bikeability professional and want to know how this announcement impacts you, please talk to your employer, who has received a communication from the Trust this afternoon.
This also means spending nationally over the next 2 years, outside of London is just £1 per head per year, this compares to £8.90 per head per year in London’s funding settlement. The Home Nations outstrip this funding significantly with Wales funding at £19 per head per year, Scotland expected be over £50 per head per year. In Ireland they are also in excess of 50 euros per head per year.
London, paragraph 20
Wales, paragraph 5