Cycling and Walking Commissioners from across the UK have today called on the government to empower them truly to do their jobs by giving cycling and walking the funding it deserves, making a political commitment to minimum quality levels and accounting for the true cost of car use to society.
In a joint letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the Commissioners are calling for five policy changes that could truly transform Britain’s towns and cities through active travel, as has been done in so many places worldwide.
At a national summit to mark the start of Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Week today, Chris Boardman will be joined by all of the UK’s Cycling and Walking Commissioners and other city leaders, including Paralympian and Sheffield City Region, Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey, the West Midlands Cycling Ambassador and World Champion cyclist, Shanaze Reade, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, Scotland’s Active Nation Commissioner, Lee Craigie, and Liverpool City Council’s Cycling Champion, Simon O’Brien.
Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said:
“It’s tragic that hundreds of millions of pounds of government money have been spent on sub-standard cycling and walking infrastructure. If national government were to adopt these asks we’d be on a winning streak and could truly transform Britain’s towns and cities, not to mention massively improving air quality and health. We need to make decisions based on evidence and we’ve got compounding evidence that this is the right thing to do for our society. It’s not a quick win, it’s a 10-20 year evolution, but we can’t afford not to do this and we simply cannot go on as we are. This is a no brainer.”
As well as asking for a commitment to long-term devolved funding for cycling and walking, the Commissioners are asking for a political commitment to minimum infrastructure quality levels and the freedom to innovate by keeping road traffic regulations under review.
The Commissioners also ask that the true cost of car use to society is counted in economic appraisal models, and the benefits of car alternatives be fully recognised.
Lastly, the city-regions are asking for the devolvement of powers to enable revenue from fixed penalty notices for driving offences to be retained locally and used to pay for policing and enforcement.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
“If we want our country to be a healthier, wealthier and more liveable place for everyone, then we need to give people an attractive alternative to the car. In Greater Manchester we’ve taken the significant decision to invest £18 per head on cycling and walking over the next four years. We’re doing things differently here in Greater Manchester and we want to show the rest of the country that we can change the way we travel around our city-region. In the North West a revolution in cycling and walking is possible.”