Funding for the first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS)
We are concerned to read a report in The Times newspaper (Saturday 1st November), suggesting the Treasury is reluctant to provide the funding needed to deliver the Prime Minister’s ‘Cycling Revolution’ via the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).
The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) has earned widespread public, media and cross-party backing for significantly increased investment in cycling. There is ample evidence showing that its benefits are substantial and wide-ranging:
- It reduces congestion, enabling people and goods to travel more freely;
- It facilitates access to employment and training opportunities, notably for those whose financial circumstances prevents them from having access to cars;
- It substantially improves public health, both through increased physical activity and reduced air pollution. This in turn would hugely reduce costs not only to the NHS, but also to employers (through reduced absenteeism and improved productivity), not to mention the quality of life benefits to individuals;
- Creating cycle-friendly, people-friendly town and city centres, streets and communities attracts international investment knowing that these are the kinds of places where they can recruit the skills they need to maintain their global competitiveness.
- Analyses published by the Department for Transport conservatively estimates that investment in cycling typically yields over £5 of benefits for every £1 spent, a benefit:cost ratio which exceeds the typical range for major road or rail projects.
Evidence for these and other benefits of investment in cycling is set out in the briefing attached.
During the last Parliament, the APPCG earned strong cross-party backing for its ‘Get Britain Cycling’ inquiry report, which called for annual spending on cycling of at least £10 per person, rising to £20 over time. We note that the Prime Minister supported the call for investment of at least £10 per person during the General election (ring fenced for cycling), as did many MPs of all parties. Transport for London is committed to spending £12.50 per person, while the Dutch invest around £24 per person, having been spending at this kind of level since the early 1990s. Moreover, a recent public opinion survey commissioned by sustainable transport charity Sustrans found that, on average, members of the public would support spending on cycling of £26 per head. Cities and nations throughout Europe, the Americas and Australasia are increasingly recognising that investment in cycling is good for their economic competitiveness.
We recently met the Prime Minister to press the case for investment in cycling and improved cycle safety. He was very supportive of our aspirations to create the conditions where cycling becomes a safe and normal means of day-to-day travel, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. We are also due to meet Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP to discuss CWIS in more detail.
The case for investment in cycling is compelling. Improving cycling infrastructure will yield excellent returns – from health dividends to improved economic competitiveness. Such benefits would be felt for generations to come. We would urge you to do all that you can to ensure that the Prime Minister’s vision for a ‘Cycling Revolution’ becomes a reality.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Ruth Cadbury MP (Co-chair, APPCG)
Alex Chalk MP (Co-chair, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Meg Hillier MP (Vice Chair, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Steve Brine MP (Vice Chair, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP (Treasurer, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Lord Berkeley (Secretary, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Ben Bradshaw MP (Patron, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Ian Austin MP (Patron, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Baroness Barker (Officer, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
Fabian Hamilton MP (Officer, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)
c.c. The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister
The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Transport Secretary
Thanks to CTC for drafting this letter