£248bn in economic benefits by 2050 through cycling

Cycling can benefit people of all ages and abilities but needs proper investment

£248bn in economic benefits by 2050 through cycling

Today (Tuesday 20 January 2015) CTC, the national cycling charity, launched its report 'The Economic Cycle – Quantifying the benefits of getting England Cycling' which found cycling in England could generate a total of £248bn in economic benefits by 2050.

CTC commissioned Dr Robin Lovelace and Fiona Crawford, both from Leeds University, to quantify the benefits of cycling if the central recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s 'Get Britain Cycling' (GBC) report were met, in comparison with the targets set in the Government’s draft 'Cycling Delivery Plan' (CDP). The GBC report recommended a national target to increase cycle use from less than 2 per cent of all journeys (current levels) to 10 per cent by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2050. This is in comparison to the CDP which merely proposes a doubling of journeys by 2025.

The report found meeting the parliamentary Get Britain Cycling report’s targets would yield annual benefits in 2050 worth £42bn in today’s money. The cumulative benefits would be worth £248bn between 2015 and 2050, even taking account of the fact that long term benefits are worth less than those achieved in the shorter term.

By contrast, the CDP would only generate annual benefits of £6.4bn in 2050, and ’discounted’ cumulative benefits of £46.4bn. These economic benefits are generated chiefly through increased physical fitness in the population, but also reduced congestion and absenteeism, improved air quality and other areas. The breakdown of these benefits can be found in the full report.

Our report, the Economic Cycle, proves conclusively that cycling can make a real difference to waistlines and the economy - £248bn worth of difference. However,  this can only be achieved if ambitious targets to encourage cycle growth are set and there is a proper long term funding strategy in place."

Paul Tuohy, CTC Chief Executive

Paul Tuohy, CTC Chief Executive said:

“Every day it seems a new report is issued that states that the UK, through an increasing sedentary existence, is eating its way into an obesity epidemic that will break the NHS and cost billions to the economy.

“CTC has joined its cycling and walking coalition partners to call on MPs to support Dr Julian Huppert MP’s amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which would create a legally binding 'Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy'. Such a strategy will make the possibility of cycling’s massive return on investment less of a dream and increasingly a reality.” 

£248 billion is equivalent to:

  • 2.5 times the General Government Net Borrowing in 2013-14 (£100.4bn – source: Office for National Statistics)
  • 4.5 years of health care spending in England at 2012-13 levels (£55.2bn – source: Dept for Health)
  • 2.9 years of total public expenditure on UK education at 2012-13 levels (£85bn – source: House of Commons Library)
  • 20.6 times the Government’s total road maintenance expenditure for the next 6 years (£12bn – source: Autumn Statement 2014)
  • 36 times the current Public Expenditure on the UK rail network in 2012/13 (£6.8bn – source: House of Commons Library)
Contact information 

CTC Press Office
Email: publicity@ctc.org.uk
Telephone: 0844-736-8453 or 01483- 238- 315

Notes to editors 
  1. CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.
  2. CTC, in coalition with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sustrans, Living Streets, British Cycling and the Richmond Group is currently supporting an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which will ensure that there is a long term investment strategy for cycling and walking. For further information on the e-action see: http://engagement.ctc.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1689&ea.campaign.id=34053
  3. The Coalition’s statement in support of the amendment can be found here: https://www.ctc.org.uk/news/20150119-walking-cycling-coalition-statement
  4. To download the full report visit: www.ctc.org.uk/economic-cycle
  5. For the executive summary visit: https://www.ctc.org.uk/sites/default/files/media_library/users/SamJones/economic_cycle_-exec_summary.pdf
  6. For further information on the Get Britain Cycling report visit: https://www.ctc.org.uk/campaign/get-britain-cycling
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