General Election 2017: What the Manifestos say about cycling and walking

By Rachel White,
cyclists on a heavily congested road

Cyclists on a heavily congested road

high street with pedestrians and cyclists

As the General Election looms on the 8th June, all the political parties have had to rapidly publish their manifestos but what do they say in relation to enabling people to cycle and walk?

Following on from the Sustrans Cycling and Walking Manifesto Asks, our Senior Policy and Political Advisor Rachel White rounds up the cycling and walking related commitments from the main political parties. 

  • Conservatives

Cycling and walking

We will continue to support local authorities to expand cycle networks and upgrade facilities for cyclists at railway stations.

Air Quality

Our towns and cities should be healthy, well-designed and well-tended places. We will take action against poor air quality in urban areas.


We will continue to take action to reduce childhood obesity. We shall continue to support school sport, delivering on our commitment to double support for sports in primary schools.

Local Infrastructure

We will deliver the infrastructure – the road, rail, airports and broadband – that businesses need and invest £1.1 billion to improve local transport. The National Productivity Investment Fund will take total spending on housing, economic infrastructure and R&D to £170 billion during the next parliament.

  • Labour

Cycling and walking

We will invite the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network. We reaffirm the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

Air quality

We will introduce a new Clean Air Act. Our plans will encourage and enable people to get out of their cars, for better health and a cleaner environment.

We will position the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra-low emission vehicles, supporting the creation of clean modes of transport through investment in low emission vehicles.

We will retrofit thousands of diesel buses in areas with the most severe air quality problems to Euro 6 standards.


We will publish a new childhood obesity strategy within the first 100 days. We will implement the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’.

Local Infrastructure

We will ensure new rolling stock is publicly owned and will encourage expansion of public freight services in a publicly owned railway that will leave our roads freer of traffic and our air cleaner.

We will invest to regenerate the local and regional economies across the whole country, so that every area gets its fair share of transport investment.

  • Liberal Democrats

Cycling and walking

Design towns and cities as safe and attractive walking spaces and implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.

Air Quality

We will pass a Green Transport Act, introduce an Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution and protect UK citizens, and support the manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles, generating jobs and exports. This plan will include:

  • A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025.
  • Extending ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities.
  • All private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas to run on ultra-low-emission or zero-emission fuels within five years.

We will also reform vehicle taxation to encourage sales of electric and low emission vehicles and develop electric vehicle infrastructure including universal charging points.


We will develop a strategy to tackle childhood obesity, including closing loopholes in the sugary drinks tax.

Local Infrastructure

We will ensure that the National Infrastructure Commission takes fully into account the environmental implications of all national infrastructure decisions. We will also devolve significant infrastructure spending to local areas.

We will set up a British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to mobilise investment into the low-carbon and sustainable infrastructure the UK needs to remain competitive.

We will create at least 10 new garden cities in England, providing tens of thousands of high-quality, zero-carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport.

  • Green Party

Cycling and walking and local infrastructure

Clean, safe, accessible public transport and more walking and cycling could make us all healthier and happier. It should be easy to choose to leave the car at home - or not have one at all.

We will invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling, including safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter.

We would divert money from road building to spend £2bn annually renovating and creating safe cycling and walking routes.

Air Quality

We will help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads.

We will introduce an Environmental Protection Act to safeguard and restore our environment, protect and enhance biodiversity, promote sustainable food and farming, and ensure animal protection.

We will introduce a one-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated the emissions testing regime and create a new Clean Air Act, expanding and funding a mandatory clean air zone network.

We will create a new Office for Environmental Protection and an Environmental Court that would monitor and enforce new long-term goals for biodiversity, water and air quality.

  • UKIP

Tolling increases costs to business and the public, and adds an additional unfair burden on the already highly taxed road user. Road tolls are modern-day highway robbery, and UKIP will aim to remove existing tolls from publicly owned roads and block the introduction of new toll roads.

UK wide and nationwide parties have also been releasing manifestos in the devolved nations. Please contact the devolved offices if you would like further information on these.

General Election 2017: Sustrans cycling and walking manifesto asks