“The Government has no interest in promoting cycling” is a regularly heard complaint from many cyclists. CTC and others sought to overcome this by securing an amendment to the 2015 Infrastructure Bill requiring the Government to produce a strategy statement at the beginning of each 5 year Parliament setting out their intentions with regard to the encouragement of cycling and walking as major contributors to improving the health of the nation.
The Government has recently (23 March 2016) published, for consultation, its first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. The Strategy contains the bold assertions “Our long term goal up to 2040 is that walking and cycling should be a normal part of everyday life, and the natural choice for shorter journeys…..” and “We want to create a nation where cycling and walking are the norm for all people whatever their background or circumstances
There are two main targets in the Strategy. Firstly to double the level of cycling activity (measured by what are called “cycling stages”) from 0.8 billion stages in 2013 to 1.6 billion in 2025; and, secondly, to reduce the level of deaths and serious injuries to cyclists year on year.
On the assumption that these targets are adopted once the formal CWIS is published – the closing date for comments is 23 May – the challenge here in Calderdale will be to see matching targets adopted in the Calderdale Council Cycle Strategy currently under development and the subject of reports to the Calderdale Cycle Forum.
More information on the draft proposals can be found here :-https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy
Roger Geffen of CTC has commented that the warm words of the draft Strategy will be of little use if money is not there to support them. Here our challenge locally will be to pressure the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to ensure that a proper proportion of its £1 billion Transport Plus fund is made available for cycling, matching the rhetoric in the Single Transport Plan Core Principles.
Watch this space !!