Cycling UK has issued a press release saying ‘‘Depressing’ new figures reveal urgent funding boost needed for government to achieve cycling targets in England.’
The latest statistics show that there has been a 5% decrease in cycling across England since last year. In the same period of time we’ve seen a cost of living squeeze with price rises in many daily essentials, and a whole host of train strikes. Which you might think could make people turn to bikes as a useful and cheap transport solution? But apparently not.
This can’t be good news for the environment, or for the bike industry. With overstocking widespread, retailers will be hoping that some of those Covid converts to bikes will be looking to pick up an upgrade – not put down the bike altogether. Cycling UK blames the fall on the government’s lack of support for cycling. Here’s the full press release:
- Latest statistics show 5% decrease in cycling across England since last year
- Government’s flawed decision to slash budget for cycling and walking in England risks further decline
- To avoid falling even further behind its own targets, Cycling UK urges government to boost funding for walking and cycling in upcoming Autumn Statement
New statistics published today (Thursday 7 September 2023), show that cycling traffic levels have fallen by 5% since last year.
The findings were published following the UK Government’s decision to cut dedicated funding for cycling and walking in England by more then two thirds in March 2023, despite lagging behind its modest target of doubling the number of cycling journeys by 2025.
A recent inquiry by the National Audit Office into active travel in England confirmed Cycling UK’s claims that the government’s investment in active travel fell far short of what was needed to meet the 2025 walking and cycling targets – even before ministers made further cuts in March.
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK said:
“These statistics should be wake up call for the government, which has already been told in crystal clear terms by the National Audit Office that it can’t meet its own targets without substantially increasing investment in active travel.
“Multiple government polices recognise the carbon reduction, public health, air pollution and economic benefits which flow from more people cycling and walking, particularly for short journeys. It’s therefore imperative that the government reflects on these figures, and urgently reverses the cuts in the Autumn Statement.”
Following the cuts, Cycling UK joined its partners in the Walking and Cycling Alliance and more than 146 other organisations, including Campaign for Better Transport and Asthma + Lung UK, to write to the prime minister highlighting the disproportionate level of cuts to funding for cycling and walking infrastructure. The incompatibility between what the government has promised to deliver, and the investment committed to achieve that was repeated in the National Audit Office report in June, and the government’s response to that report is still awaited.
The prime minister also recently indicated a U-turn on his own government’s stated support for low traffic neighbourhoods, ironically one of the measures local authorities can implement to enable more people to walk and cycle safely, at a time when the government is slashing central funding because they are relatively cheap to introduce. So far, over 5000 people have used Cycling UK’s online template to write to the Prime Minister urging him not to backtrack. Measures designed to create safer streets and to give people real alternatives to driving short journeys.
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