Top British businesses urge politicians to prioritise cycling

Companies such as Sky, GlaxoSmithKline and The AA join with British Cycling to write an open letter to party leaders asking them to back cycling improvements

A network of some of Britain’s largest businesses has urged politicians to form an integrated transport strategy for cycling.

The group, brought together by British Cycling, includes Santander, Sky, GlaxoSmithKline, National Grid, British Land and The AA and has been named the #ChooseCycling network.

An open letter to party leaders has been issued, asking for funding commitments ahead of the May general election, with five per cent of Britain’s transport budget requested to be ring fenced for improving cycling infrastructure.

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British Cycling’s policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “We’re just weeks away from a general election and now is the opportunity for party leaders to confirm some solid commitments on cycling in their manifestos. We’re at a turning point for cycling.

“As if it isn’t enough that active travel organisations are calling for bold decisions on cycling, now we have the backing of major British brands – with more due to join us in the coming weeks.

“This isn’t an issue that is going to go away. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the other party leaders must demonstrate that they are taking cycling seriously as a legitimate tool to transform Britain’s towns and cities for the better.”

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GlaxoSmithKline’s head of environmental sustainability, Matt Wilson, added:

“As a healthcare company, we place as much importance on the health and wellbeing of our employees as the medicines, vaccines and consumer products that we supply to patients and consumers across the world.

“We have an established and successful cycle scheme in the UK for our employees but believe that with further investment and commitment from the government, GSK and other companies could take this even further, bringing significant health benefits to more people, while protecting the environment.”

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The #ChooseCycling network has for the following commitments from party leaders:

1. Fulfil the requirements of the Infrastructure Act to create an adequate Cycling and Walking investment strategy with clear and ambitious targets by 2016.

2. A commitment to invest 5% of Britain’s combined transport spend every year into designing cycling back into our roads and junctions.

3. Setting a meaningful target, to make cycling account for 10% of all trips by 2025.

4. The creation and distribution of uniform design guidance – put together in consultation with world experts - to be followed by all local authorities by 2016.

Read the full open letter here (PDF).

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