Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy adviser, has written an open letter to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin asking him to clarify his department’s position on investing in cycling.
Following the Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday, when Chancellor George Osbourne announced that £300m will be available for cycling initiatives over the course of this Parliament, Boardman said that it was “essential” that this was in addition to “the vital investment required to make our roads and junctions safer”.
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The former Olympic individual pursuit and world time trial champion warned against stop-start investment in cycling and pointed out that cycling returns as much as six times on investment when compared to road building or projects such as HS2.
Boardman wrote to the Transport Secretary: “With your Department’s budget now set following the Comprehensive Spending Review we urge you to leave room in finances to deliver a credible Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
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“Your Department’s own figures show that cycling delivers a far higher return on investment than road building or HS2, nearly 6:1, and the sums involved are a fraction of overall budgets. The national investment needed starts at just £10 per head a year – this is just 3% of what is spent per head on transport.
“Under your leadership, the Department for Transport has overseen a steady increase in investment in cycling infrastructure. However, this is now set to dramatically reduce if funding is not secured.”
“Stop-start investment for cycling does not deliver increases in journeys at a national level… What is needed is a long-term commitment to deliver the capital and revenue investment needed to make cycling and walking a genuine alternative to our congested roads.”
He added: “You now have everything you need to deliver. A supportive Prime Minister, a manifesto commitment, a parliamentary majority, cross-party support and the legislation to underpin long term investment has already been passed.
“You have examples from cities in the UK and other European countries from which to learn, along with the full-throated support of businesses that know an active, healthy workforce is good for their bottom line.”
The Chancellor also announced on Wednesday that he would be supporting a British bid to host the UCI Road World Championships, as well as a 7% increase in funding for UK Anti-Doping.