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To anyone following active travel or environmental policy developments in the UK, the news that the government is preparing to announce a ‘Plan For The Motorist’ will likely come as no surprise. After last week’s announcements on changes to net zero policies, and this week’s approval for new North Sea Oil drilling, next week’s Plan For The Motorist should keep the theme going. Before we get there, if you’re already feeling irate, Protect Our Winters has a ‘Send It For Climate’ campaign where you can send a virtual postcard to show that climate change policies are important to you.
OK… so on to next week’s anticipated policy announcement. This comes on top of cuts made to active travel budgets earlier this year. Active travel groups have joined together to criticise the latest plans, which are thought to include a variety of pro-motoring policies which will make it harder to increase the attractiveness of walking and cycling:
Cycling and walking organisations react to the government’s ‘Plan for the Motorist’
Six of the UK’s leading cycling and walking organisations have criticised the government’s ‘Plan for the Motorist’, which we expect will be officially announced by the Transport Secretary on Monday at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, saying it denies people their choice, health and freedom.
Bikeability Trust, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans, say instead of giving people real choice in how they live their lives, the plan ignores possibilities for cheap, reliable and sustainable travel, leaving many with one default option: to drive.
The government’s ‘Plan for the Motorist’ outlines plans which the six organisations say strip away opportunities for millions of families to allow their children to walk or cycle to school safely, live healthy lives, and travel to work in a cheap and reliable way.
The following is a joint statement released this morning by the CEOs of Bikeability Trust, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans.
When the government should be giving people more opportunities to live their lives responsibly, it’s robbing them of options.
When Ministers could be promoting public transport, cycling and walking as cheap sustainable options in a cost of living and climate crisis, they’re entrenching congestion and reliance on driving for short, local journeys.
When the government could respect people’s freedom to choose how they travel, it’s removing the alternatives. This is a plan that looks no further than one way of travelling and will make the roads worse for those occasions when people do need to drive.
Having a reliable bus route to work, the freedom to cycle to the park, or to be able to let your children walk to school safely while breathing clean air should not be beyond us.
This plan restricts people’s travel choices, setting the country on cruise control towards missed net zero targets and a worsening health and inactivity crisis, while denying our children of their independence and freedom to move around their local area safely.Emily Cherry, Chief Executive, Bikeability Trust
Jon Dutton, CEO, British Cycling
Sarah Mitchell, Chief Executive, Cycling UK
Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets
Ross Maloney, Chief Executive, Ramblers
Xavier Brice, Chief Executive, Sustrans
The Sustainable Transport Alliance has also issued a statement. This alliance consists of: Bus Users UK; Campaign for Better Transport; Community Rail Network; Community Transport Association; CoMoUK (Collaborative Mobility); Living Streets; London Cycling Campaign; Sustrans
We need fairer, better transport for all, not just for drivers, says coalition of charities
An alliance of eight leading transport charities and NGOs has responded to speculation that the PM will introduce a ‘plan for motorists’ and called instead for fairer, better, greener transport that works for everyone and protects our climate.
The Sustainable Transport Alliance is pointing to evidence showing how developing public and community transport, walking, wheeling and cycling, and shared mobility – with local communities in control of the change we need – creates fairer access to opportunity, and enables people to make journeys that are better for our communities, our health and wellbeing, and our climate.
“Between our organisations, we work with and support thousands of communities across the UK that are striving for cleaner air, safer streets, and good transport options that serve local people well and protect our climate. We need to empower communities more, not take away control, especially when it comes to creating greener, better transport. Having good quality, joined-up and affordable public, community and shared transport, while ensuring we can all walk, wheel and cycle freely, and ultimately get to the opportunities and places we want – this is what people want and need. And it’s critical to tackling the climate emergency. We need a plan to make that a reality, not to undermine the ability of communities to make positive changes that are important to local people and our future.”
Key facts (provided by Sustainable Transport Alliance):
- Nearly three in 10 UK adults don’t have access to a car, while nearly half of low-income households (45%) are non-car-owning;
- Improving public and community transport, active travel and shared mobility options widens access to jobs, training and leisure, while helping to cut traffic congestion, air pollution, noise and road danger;
- Transport is the UK’s biggest contributor to the climate crisis, and emissions have refused to fall due to a long-term trend of increasing traffic, which is set to rise further. Making more of our journeys by rail, bus, active and shared transport means cutting carbon rapidly, as well as improving public health and boosting local economies.