Thank you for contacting me about cycling and walking.
With public transport capacity reduced to facilitate social distancing, cycling and walking will play a vital role in helping the country to get back to work.
Despite fewer people travelling overall during the COVID-19 crisis, there has been around a 100 per cent increase in weekday cycling, and approximately a 200 per cent increase in cycling at weekends, in comparison to pre-COVID-19 levels. This needs to be harnessed, and millions more need to be encouraged to take up safe and socially distanced active travel.
I welcome the commitment to extending Bikeability cycling proficiency training to every child in the country.
Building on significant recent investment, Ministers have pledged to invest an additional £2 billion in cycling and walking and committed to publish a national cycling plan, as well as an updated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
The first stage of this £2 billion investment will be a £250 million emergency active travel fund. The Fund is intended to deliver new pop-up cycle lanes with protected space for cycling, cycle and bus-only corridors, safer junctions and wider pavements. New statutory guidance has also been issued to councils to ensure they are able to reallocate road space for significantly increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
The Department for Transport has been providing support to 46 local authorities to assist with the preparation of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans. Now with the urgent need to increase cycling and walking, local authorities are being encouraged to bring forward permanent schemes already in the pipeline and which can be relatively speedily constructed – this could be under Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans.
I understand that this summer an updated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will be launched. It will set out measures to help deliver on the Government’s aim of doubling cycling and walking by 2025. Measures in this updated strategy will include creating a national cycling and walking commissioner and inspectorate, introducing higher standards for permanent cycling infrastructure in England, establishing a long-term budget for cycling and walking and creating at least one ‘zero-emission city’, which will have its centre restricted to bikes and electric vehicles.
Furthermore, up to half a million £50 Fix Your Bike Vouchers will be issued to help people to bring bikes out of retirement.
Investment in recent years has also enhanced cycling and walking infrastructure. Indeed, £210 million through the Cycle Ambition Cities programme has delivered 155 miles of new segregated cycle routes, 186 miles of new on-road and off-road routes for cyclists and pedestrians and 136 miles of off-road cycling signage and resurfacing improvements across eight cities. In addition, £22 million has been invested to upgrade 32 routes, covering 103 miles, along the National Cycle Network.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP