Sign of The Times as MPs back Cycling UK's CWIS stance

Crunch time for the future of cycling as Cycle Minister faces APPCG inquiry

Sign of The Times as MPs back Cycling UK's CWIS stance

As the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) holds its inquiry into England’s first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) today, Cycling UK’s #morethanmilk action scores a result with over 50 MPs writing to The Times backing our five key milestones.

Cycling UK launched its #morethanmilk action last Tuesday evening in an effort to highlight the discrepancy between funding for cycling and for roads. 

Government funding for cycling is set to fall to 72p per head for residents in England outside of London by 2020/21, compared to funding of £86 per head for motorways and highways. 

Since the launch of #morethanmilk over 1,800 emails have been sent to MPs in England, asking them to support a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP. The letter, written by Sustrans with support from Cycling UK, outlines five key target areas the forthcoming CWIS must meet if the Government’s worthy ambition of wanting “to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey” is to become reality:

  1. A pathway towards achieving the Government’s ambition for cycling and walking in England.
  2. A plan to at least meet clear targets for both cycling and walking and other outcomes.
  3. A package of committed Government investment and other potential funding to deliver the Strategy.
  4. A framework for assessing performance.
  5. Independent governance that challenges and supports.

These key areas were identified by a coalition of cycling and walking NGOs and charities, which included Cycling UK. 

While the letter is expected to be delivered to the Transport Secretary today with close to 60 Parliamentarian signatures, thanks to input from Cycling UK’s campaigns team and the 1,800 supporters who took part in #morethanmilk, The Times published a letter in today’s paper calling on the Government to support our five asks. This letter received the backing of 52 MPs and peers. 

This high level of cross-party support from MPs, including rising stars from the Conservative backbenches Dr Sarah Wollaston, Nicola Blackwood and Flick Drummond, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and Shadow Transport Secretary Lillian Greenwood and Shadow Home Office Minister Keir Starmer, demonstrates that cycling in England is not about party politics, but is a matter of genuine concern for a sizeable proportion of the elected Westminster body.

It sets the scene well ahead of the afternoon’s main action as the APPCG holds its inquiry on the CWIS. Cycling UK’s Policy Director, Roger Geffen MBE, will join other experts and the Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill in presenting evidence from 13:30 today (23 May). Cycling UK is expecting to push hard on the point that funding for cycling and walking, which will also benefit our local road networks, should not lose out to projects which will effectively gold-plate our motorways. In addition, Cycling UK believes that for public money to be spent wisely and well, decent national design standards are also required. 

Cycling UK will report live from the event via Twitter from @weareCyclingUK

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As well as infrastructure improvements we need to force behaviour change by motorists. Priority to be given to vulnerable road users enforced by heavy fines and supported by Strict Liability. The Highway Code goes a long way towards this but needs to be made mandatory instead of advisory. Otherwise flowing cycle routes will not happen.

Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19