This coming Thursday, it will be announced in Parliament that Cycling England – and up to 176 other quangos; some vital, others less so – will be abolished.
No amount of lobbying could have saved Cycling England, despite the fact it was one of the vital quangos, employed just four people and cost peanuts to run.
However, as revealed on BikeHub.co.uk, Bikeability training – a core function of Cycling England – will be saved, although a vehicle for its administration has yet to be revealed. To keep ‘Cycling proficiency for the 21st Century’ ticking over will cost £10m a year. There are 2000+ Bikeability instructors in the UK, some of whom now rely on the scheme for their living.
The fate of Cycling Demonstration towns – and the city, Bristol – is unknown but continued funding could come from the recently announced Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
Thursday’s announcement in Parliament will confirm the worst fears of cycling advocates but Cycling England will not disappear overnight. Cycling England staff are on contract until the middle of next year and there will need to be an orderly winding down of the (compact and bijou) organisation’s duties.
Watch out for transport spending levels in next week’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond is expected to be one of the ministers with the biggest axe – chopping nearly 40 percent from the DfT budget – but if he announces any road building funding whatsoever, critics will call foul. He has been pressed and pressed that cycling offers a good return on investment. Good for local economies; good for health; good for people; good for carbon reduction; good for de-gridlocking. Good riddance? What a waste!
To quash Cycling England but to build more roads to be filled up with yet more motorised vehicles will be called out as the height of car-fixated stupidity.