The Department for Transport has started work on its long-awaited Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. This was revealed by roads and cycling minister Robert Goodwill at Newcastle’s Active City Cycle City Conference. He said that he has instructed officials to develop the strategy and draw up legislation to underpin it.
Also present at the launch was Chris Boardman of British Cycling. He told the minister that a “smart cycling strategy and a smart economic strategy go hand in hand.”
Boardman, who used the conference to invite ministers to see ‘benchmark’ cycling cities like Copenhagen first hand, welcomed the announcement but called on the government to move faster.
“I welcome Robert Goodwill’s announcement – the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy can be an important step in developing the network of segregated lanes and traffic-calmed streets needed to persuade people to switch to cycling. I hope to see the strategy put before the House of Commons in the coming weeks.
“But we need to keep perspective. Inactivity costs the country £47 billion a year, and 1 in 5 school age children are obese. Inactivity and obesity are causing a slow-motion car crash that is costing our country £billions – cycling is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to avoid it. The Minister’s commitments are a welcome step forward, but there is nowhere near enough urgency and I call on the government to move faster in investing 5% of transport spend on cycling and cycle-proofing roads and junctions.
“In my speech today I asked Robert Goodwill to join me in Copenhagen to see best practice for himself, and I suggest he brings some Treasury Ministers along to see first-hand that a smart cycling strategy and a smart economic strategy go hand in hand.”