Parliamentary debate on Government investment in cycling

Yesterday, there was a well attended debate in Westminster Hall on ‘Government investment in cycling’, proposed by Conservative MP for Bolton West, Chris Green (below)


The transcript of the debate can be found here.  CTC have published a full length report on the debate,  and Bikebiz have done a very useful summary of the highlights.

Road CC have reported that the debate was reached by 2.1 million people on social media!

Our Chairs both contributed speeches:

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group opened his contribution to the debate saying: “We will know we have done a good job with investment in cycling when there are as many women as there are men cycling. We will know we have done an excellent job when they are taking their children along with them on their bikes”.

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group added to the debate saying: “We seek a national set of design standards that reflect those that have been created in Wales and in London, to ensure we get good quality space for cycling”.
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The Minister for Cycling addresses the Parliamentary Cycling Group



left to right: Alex Chalk MP, Ruth Cadbury MP, Robert Goodwill MP

The Minister started off the by talking about the Governments’ cycling policy. These are his verbatim notes:

Spending Review  and ‘Access’ fund

Following the Spending Review settlement, the Department for Transport was awarded £580 million (£80 million revenue and £500 million capital). The revenue element of this fund sits within the £300 million which the Chancellor announced as supporting cycling over the life time of this Parliament. The capital element will continue to be embedded in the Local Growth Fund (LGF) but Treasury have made it clear that this will not be ring-fenced. We are working with officials from Communities and Local Government, the Treasury and other Departments on the design of a competitive process for allocating the remaining Local Growth Fund. This will include discussion of how we can achieve national policy goals, such as sustainable travel, within LGF guidance and allocation criteria.


Following the Spending Review, the Department was awarded £49.8 million over the next four years from 2016/17 to 2019/20 to support Bikeability training in schools. Bikeability provides children with the life skills they need to cycle safely and confidently on local roads. The programme remains one of the key strands to supporting the Government’s manifesto commitment to make cycling safer, so we reduce the number of cyclists and other road users killed or injured on our roads every year.

The Department currently provides over £11 million a year in training grants for children and £715k a year in programme support costs. Grants are paid to local authorities and School Games Organisers (SGOs) to deliver the training. During the last parliament 1.3 million children in England (outside London) received Bikeability cycle training, and we expect to train a further 1 million children over the next four years with the new funding settlement.

Transport Delivery Excellence programme

In 2014/15 DfT provided funding for a Transport Delivery Excellence programme to boost the capability of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) delivering of Local Growth Fund schemes.

The TDEP consists of two parts: the core TDEP and the Sustainable TDEP.

Minister Andrew Jones has agreed this January to:

  • an extension of the Transport Delivery Excellence Programme which has supported 15 LEPs to date, to potentially reach the remaining 23 (non-London) LEPs at a cost to DfT of £500,000 in 2015/16;
  • That this help is offered to all LEPs that have not yet taken part
  • an extension to the Sustainable TDEP at budget of £500,000 in 2015/16, which supported 28 LEPs in 2014/15


Highways Maintenance Fund

This government has committed over £6 billion between now and 2020/21 – which equates to just over £1 billion per annum – to local highway authorities in England, outside London, for local highways maintenance. This includes £250 million for a Pothole Action Fund.



The Minister then took questions:

Ruth Cadbury MP was chairing the meeting and asked whether the Highways England proposal to cycle-proof all of their new roads can be extended to Local Authorities (LA). Robert Goodwill said this was the decision of Local Authorities and the DfT were encouraging each LA to have a cycling champion. He gave the example of Newcastle where the LA decided to close off a road to motor traffic despite opposition from motorists but they went ahead despite this.

Flick Drummond MP asked how can funds be sought for a cycling specific transport survey in her constituency of Portsmouth. The Minister replied that the new Access Fund was the best option.

Ralph Smyth from CPRE talked about the large increase in funds in Germany specifically for rural cycling and whether this can be replicated in the UK. The response was that there are plans to create a cycling network based on the HS2 route, including joining up existing routes for ‘the travel to work’ areas. He added that LA’s have the power to do this and they can get a budget for the works by applying for funding. Robert Goodwill said: “I’m optimistic that local authorities will realise how significant cycle routes are”

Jo Somerset from Bikeright talked about the importance of cycle training. Robert Goodwill agreed and said that in cities there is a perceived fear of cycling and that more needs to be done to build segregated infrastructure. He added that the risk per kilometre travelled was the same for pedestrians and cyclists, but people don’t perceive walking to be dangerous. He said that the media give disproportionate coverage of cycling fatalities compared to pedestrian fatalities. He also added that cyclists must realise that they have just as much right to road space as motorists (something that is taught in Bikeability training) and as bikes are cheap to buy, there are no real barriers to owning a bicycle.

David Davies from PACTS asked what the government intend to do about employees that don’t take road safety seriously. The Minister said that the bigger organisations train staff very well, and take incidents very seriously. HGV drivers now have to attend a compulsory training day, every year but other types of employees who drive lots of miles are not seen as professional drivers don’t get as much attention. He said they were a “harder nut to crack” as there is no legislation.

Meg Hillier MP talked about riding with her 6 year old child on the backstreets of Hackney and said that segregation in London can be problematic. She suggested that planners need more guidance from the DfT on alternatives to segregation. The Minister replied that there are cheap ways of introducing segregation such as the ‘Armadillos’ being used in Camden. He said there needed to be more flexibility in signage and used the example that cyclist specific traffic lights used not to be legal, but are now. He also agreed to accompany Meg on a bike ride in Hackney to see what has worked well in her constituency.

Paul Tuohy from the CTC talked about their recent ‘Big Bike Revival Project’ which encouraged people to use bikes that had been sitting in sheds. The Minister said that he was pleased that the DfT had funded this project.

Mike Kane MP talked about how charity rides are a really good way to encourage cycling and the Minister agreed.

Alex Chalk MP asked how to hold Local Authorities to account and Robert Goodwill replied that it is called democracy, if you don’t like them vote them out. He added that councillors don’t get many letters so that if they do get a few on a particular issue or subject, they are likely to take notice. He also said he would encourage all Local Authorities to create a ‘Cycling Champion’

Tessel van Essen from the Dutch Embassy said that all drivers have to learn about cycle awareness (not just HGV drivers, as in the UK). The Minister replied that awareness of cyclists appear in the written test of the Highway Code and that education applies to cyclists as well. He said: “I always wear hi-viz, to narrow the odds”.

Robert Davis from the Road Danger Reduction Forum ask why the DfT didn’t report casualty rates (based on exposure) rather than pure casualties numbers which can be mis-understood. The Minister said he would look into this.

Isabelle Clement from Wheels for Wellbeing wanted to see a review of the ‘invalid carriages regulation’ and add cycles into it and therefore recognise cycles as a mobility aid. She said there are a significant number of people who can ride, but due to a disability are unable to walk without the aid of a support such as bike. This can be a problem at railway stations, but the law should be changed to make it easier.

Nick Chamberlain from British Cycling asked how the APPCG can hold the Government to account. Ruth Cadbury replied that we intend to hold other smaller inquiries to continue the work done with the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report. The group have also had meetings with the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Transport, during the last few months to discuss cycle safety and other key issues.





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All Party Cycling Group meet Patrick McLoughlin


14 January 2016



left-right : Sarah Wollaston MP, Lord Berkeley, Patrick McLoughlin MP, Alex Chalk MP, Ruth Cadbury MP, Steve Brine MP

MPs and Lords from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group met Patrick McLoughlin the Secretary of State for Transport (SoST) yesterday (13 January) to discuss the funding of cycle schemes and the importance of making cycling safer in order to increase levels of cycling in England.

MPs Ruth Cadbury (Lab, Brentford and Isleworth), Alex Chalk (Con, Cheltenham), Dr. Sarah Wollaston (Con, Totnes) and Steve Brine (Con, Winchester) and Peer, Lord Berkeley (Lab) discussed how to make the roads safer for cyclists. These included:

  • funding for cycling, following the recent reduced settlement in the Comprehensive Spending Review (£300m over 5 years)
  • the increase of serious cycling injuries (risen every year since 2005)
  • HGV/cyclist safety, particularly ‘Direct Vision’ lorries and enforcement
  • adoption of National Design Standards, following the lead set by London and Wales and resourcing a “Best Practice Base” to share knowledge

The Secretary of State for Transport said that he will be “very mindful to fund cycling bids submitted through the Local Growth Fund”. When challenged on the APPCG call for spending £10 per head, per annum on cycling (one of the APPCG’s 18 Get Britain Cycling recommendations), he said he while he could not guarantee it, there is no reason why “all the pots of money available to cycling, won’t add up to £10 per head”.

APPCG Members invited the Secretary of State to consider following the lead taken by the Highways Agency and ensure that all DfT-funded road schemes are cycle-proofed.

As HGV-related cycle deaths has been a major issue for the APPCG, members sought assurance that the SoST would focus attention on initiatives that reduces deaths and serious injuries of cyclists under the wheels of heavy lorries. Initiatives discussed included; incentivising hauliers to invest in direct vision lorries, encourage site developers to transport heavy loads by rail rather than road and for the DfT to work with other departments to consider hypothecating fines to make enforcement regimes more affordable for police and local authorities.

APPCG members pressed the Secretary of State to develop and adopt a national set of design standards, based on the tried and tested work carried out in Wales and London. He was also asked to bring together and promote design best practice, a suggestion he said he would consider.

Ruth Cadbury (co-Chair) said: “The Secretary of State shared our concerns over the safety of cyclists and I feel encouraged that he will pursue the suggestions that we made, particularly encouraging Local Authorities to cycle-proof their roads, based on the Highways Agency model”

Alex Chalk (co-Chair) said: “I was encouraged by the Secretary of State’s comments about funding streams available through the Local Growth Fund. It is delivering those safe cycle schemes that will be key to getting more people onto bikes. ”



About the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG)

 With a cross party membership of MPs and Peers, the group’s mission is to promote work that gets more people in the UK cycling more often and more safely. Key activities undertaken by the APPCG include meetings in parliament, study tours, receptions and an annual summer bike.

The APPCG is co-chaired by Ruth Cadbury, the MP for Brentford and Isleworth (Lab) and Alex Chalk, the MP for Cheltenham (Con). The group’s co-ordinator is Adam Coffman. The APPCG is registered with the House of Commons.







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‘The Guardian’ publishes a brief history of cycling politicians 

The Guardian reports on Bradley Wiggins’ stint as guest editor of the ‘Today’ programme, which included an interview with Jeremy Corbyn MP.

Full article here

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New ‘Road Safety Plan’ launched

The Department for Transport have launched a new Road Safety Plan.

The main issues affecting cycling are:

  • a grant of £50 million over the next 4 years will support Bikeability cycle training in schools
  • the government will consult on changes to improve cycle safety to ensure side-guards are not removed from HGVs but remain permanently fitted
  • motorists who endanger lives by using hand held mobile phones while driving will face an increase from the current 3 penalty points to 4, while the fixed penalty notice will rise from £100 to £150. For larger vehicles such as HGVs where the consequences of an accident can be much more severe, the penalty will increase from the current 3 points to 6 and the fixed penalty notice will rise from £100 to £150

The full document is here

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Timetable and approach for delivering the ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy’ (CWIS)

The Department for Transport has published a document outlining the timetable and approach for delivering the ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy’ (CWIS)


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Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Safety

Question from our co-Chair Ruth Cadbury:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) lorry drivers from outside the UK have the appropriate licences and skills to drive on roads safely and (b) left-hand drive lorries have appropriate extra mirrors to improve visibility of cyclists and other road users to the lorry driver.

Answer from DfT Minister, Andrew Jones:

Road traffic legislation applies to everyone using British roads and this includes the obligation to provide documentation if required to do so by the police.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has check sites in the Port of Dover and throughout the strategic road network of Great Britain. At these sites, all classes of Large Goods Vehicles are checked to ensure vehicle roadworthiness, the correct documentation and compliance with drivers’ hours regulations.

The mirror requirements for heavy goods vehicles are the same throughout the EU.However, Department for Transport officials have currently negotiated improved requirements for mirrors on the passenger side of vehicles. The implementation process is now underway in the EU and means that drivers of newly registered HGVs from 1 July 2016 will have a better view of the area adjacent to the cab on the passenger side, which should improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Furtherchanges will also allow camera monitoring systems and enable the redesign of lorry cabs for better vision.

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