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06/02/2012 // INFO Leave a comment

Transport charities call for cycle specific funding


Cities fit for Cycling

It has been a few days on since the launch of The Times “Cities Fit For Cyclists” campaign and there is no doubt that the campaign, unlike many before, has got overwhelming cyclist and public support through greatly increased awareness of the issue across print and online media. There has also been political momentum with cycling groups and the road safety lobby get their voices heard across to more people.

The campaign has been good in that it has helped galvanise and focus public minds on cycle safety on the roads and from this there have been a number of policy suggestions that could help cycle, pedestrian and road safety in the long run.

A £100m cycle infrastructure fund

The most radical of these proposals is the suggestion  from the Campaign for Better Transport that £100m should be set aside by government to finance cycle infrastructure across Britain.

The transport charity, supported by a number of cycling groups and Sustrans, have called for 2% of the annual Highways Agency annual budget to be put into a national fund cycle infrastructure that local authorities could then bid for to finance cycle infrastructure.

Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport, told The Times: “You have a fund there (the Highways Agency budget) dedicated to road infrastructure. I don’t see why 2% couldn’t go to cycling infrastructure.”

No specific funding for infrastructure

There is no longer any central government funding to finance cycle infrastructure products with local authorities having to bid for a £560m pot through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The LSTF not only funds cycle projects but any transport form that fits the sustainability criteria. There is no guarantee that cycling projects will receive finance from this fund.

Mike Penning, the Roads Minister, told The Times that he was “wary” of calls for a new funding mechanism that would eat into the Highways Agency budget.

“Most cycling will be on local government roads so you are taking the budget out of national infrastructure into local government roads. But like anything, if anybody has ideas they can be looked at.”

There is no doubt that there would be some vocal opposition to such a policy development from the automotive lobby but like car owners, cyclists pay their income tax into the national coffers from which the Highways Agency is funded.

AA supports more 20mph zones

Elsewhere, the AA has said it would support more widespread use of 20mph zones where they work such as residential areas and near schools. 20mph zones in residential areas are a key demand of The Times’ 8 point plan to make cycling safe in the UK.

Edmund King, the AA’s president, told The Times: “Our view is that we support 20mph zones where they work but there are still some roads in urban areas that are roads for movement. A blanket 20mph may stop people getting around.”

Early day motion

Today, will see the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group table an Early Day Motion supporting The Times’ campaign in the House of Commons.

Ian Austin, joint chairman of the group, said the group was keen to meet people from The Times to discuss how to get the issues on the manifesto in front of the right people.

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See also

The Times calls for cities to be made fit for cyclists

Do people turn a blind eye to bicycle theft?

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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