Cycling and walking groups have repeated their call for an immediate doubling of funding as the Government responds to the Transport Committee’s report on active travel, published today.
The Walking and Cycling Alliance, made up of the Bicycle Association, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans, wants funding for active travel infrastructure and programmes to increase to £17 per person annually immediately, and £34 per person by 2025.
Current funding for cycling and walking is estimated at £7 per person in England, equating to a little over two per cent of total transport spending.
As laid out in its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in England, the Government has targets of doubling the levels of cycling and raising the proportion of children walking to school. To meet this, the Alliance says, transport spending on active travel must immediately increase to five per cent of total transport spending, increasing to 10 per cent over the next five years. The Government also needs to move quickly to confirm funding for 2020/21, as indicated by Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris earlier this week, and to publish its investment model research which will inform future spending decisions.
Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of Living Streets speaking on behalf of the Alliance said: “Walking and cycling have huge benefits to our health, but also help reduce road congestion, greenhouse gases and air pollution across the UK. The Government needs to double investment in active travel now, not tomorrow.
“Investment is currently only two per cent of government transport spend – a tiny fraction. The Government has already admitted its current policies will only deliver a third of what is needed to meet its cycling target.
“The Walking and Cycling Alliance wants annual funding for active travel infrastructure and programmes to increase initially to £17 per person in 2021, ramping up to £34 per person by 2025. This would amount to slightly more than a doubling of investment next year, and a further doubling over the next five years. This would take cycling and walking investment up to just 10 per cent of total transport spending, something we have long called for.
“The Government needs to raise its ambition on walking. The last three years’ figures show that it’s realistic that the average person can walk at least once a day, so we believe a target of 365 journeys a year is achievable.”