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All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group Monthly Newsletter – April 2019

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Investment and Funding – proposed Manchester spend of £137 million on cycling and walking,

A total of 18 new cycling and walking schemes, totalling £137 million, will be considered by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), as part of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network. This represents the single biggest investment in cycling and walking ever announced in the city-region and means Greater Manchester is investing around £18 per head per year on cycling and walking, one of the highest levels in the UK. The latest schemes will bring the total investment in cycling and walking related projects across Greater Manchester to around £204m. Some £115m of this is from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund, with another £88 million coming from local contributions.

When unveiled in 2016, the UK’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy promised £300 million over five years outside London, which equated to just £1.38 per head. Get Britain Cycling recommended that £10 per person, rising to £20, would make a significant impact. Against this, the numbers promised for Manchester are encouraging.

Investment and Funding – Department for Transport (DfT) pledges £23m to improve cycling and walking around UK

Cycling Minister Jesse Norman has announced investment of £21 million to improve significant on and off-road stretches of the 16,000-mile National Cycle Network. A further £2 million will encourage more people, particularly children and young people, to cycle and walk, so that greener travel choices are the norm.

Communities across England will benefit from upgrades to existing cycle routes and improved cycleway connectivity, to help create a safe, accessible and traffic-free network on the doorstep of millions of people. It is estimated that the health benefits associated with walking and cycling on the network prevented 630 early deaths in 2017 alone, and averted nearly 8,000 serious long-term health conditions. Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival will also receive investment to continue its work inspiring the 42% of people who own bikes but do not cycle, to start riding.

Benefits of cycling –  European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF)  reports on the benefits of cycling and bicycle parking

In its report ‘The Benefits of Cycling: Unlocking their Potential for Europe”, ECF calculates that cycling creates benefits of up to €150 billion every year in the EU, including more than €90 billion in positive impacts for the environment, public health, transport,  employment, and the mobility system and social policy. ECF is calling for an integrated EU cycling strategy to unlock the full potential of cycling in all relevant policy areas. It also recommends that EU investments for cycling should increase to at least €3 billion, up from about €2 billion in the current funding period.

Infrastructure  – ECF explores the links between bicycle and car off-road parking and the impact upon transport choice

European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has also  launched a report titled ‘Making Building Suitable for Sustainable Mobility’,  in which it argues that policymakers must take bicycle parking into account when promoting active travel. For countries such as the UK and Spain, whose bike parking regulations are ranked as insufficient, ECF recommends, as a minimum, development of guidelines for local authorities on inclusion of bicycle parking in building regulations and urban planning policies before March 2020. These countries, and those classed as ‘sufficient’, are also recommended to introduce a legally-binding framework at national or regional level which would require local authorities to adopt specific parking regulations.

For the likes of Italy and the Netherlands, who had ‘good’ bicycle parking regulations, ECF advises the countries to analyse whether local authorities properly transpose the national or regional framework law into local regulation, and if this is not the case, to introduce minimum requirements at the national/regional level. The ECF’s assessment shows that bicycle parking is better regulated at regional level than at national level.  One in three regions have minimum bicycle parking requirements, compared to one in five EU countries at national level. Just under 40% of countries and 14% of regions have neither legislation nor guidelines in place.

Appointments – Sarah Storey appointed Active Travel Commissioner (ATC) for Sheffield

Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most successful female Paralympian, has been named ATC for the Sheffield City Region. The role will involve championing active travel and working to create a region in which more people travel on foot, by bike or by public transport. Storey will work closely with Mayor Dan Jarvis, local authorities, the Passenger Transport Executive, community groups and public health professionals, as well as with national government. She will also be responsible for leading the active travel agenda across the City.

Environmentcentral London Ultra Low Emission Zone  (ULEZ)

ULEZ came into force on 8 April. In an attempt to improve air quality in central London, most vehicles, including cars and cans, will need to meet emission standards, or their drivers will have to pay a daily charge within the zone.

Environment – last mile freight deliveries

TfL is  launching new plans to encourage last mile freight deliveries in the capital by bike.  In addition, the Department for Transport (DfT) has made £2 million funding available for the acquisition of e-cargo bikes, to support green last mile deliveries.  This funding is available to limited companies, sole traders, partnerships, charities and not-for-profit organisations. Public, community or third sector organisations also may benefit providing they meet eligibility criteria. The E-Cargo Bike Grant funding covers up to 20% of the total cost of an e-cargo bike, up to a maximum of £1,000 per bike. While the move has been welcomed, there is surprise and disappointment that there is not yet any backing or incentives for private citizens looking to purchase an e-cargo bike rather than a polluting motor vehicle

Policy – Tax on bicycles & e-bikes set to be slashed in Belgium, pending EU approval

The Belgian Parliament has voted unanimously in favour of cutting tax on bicycles and e-bikes from 21% to 6%. The EU’s VAT Directive limits the ability of individual member countries to lower their tax rates. The European Commission is considering a proposal that, if passed, will allow Member States to apply a reduced or zero rate to bicycles. E-bikes are currently excluded from this proposal, which will limit the effectiveness of the measures, with e-bikes taking bigger shares of bicycle markets across Europe.

Safety – EU provisionally agrees changes to vehicle safety rules.

All new cars sold in the UK and Europe are to be fitted with devices to automatically stop drivers exceeding the speed limit, under changes to vehicle safety rules provisionally agreed by the EU. Although the UK may no longer be part of the EU when the rules come into effect, the UK regulator, the Vehicle Certification Agency, has said it will mirror safety standards for vehicles in the UK. The speed limiter is one of a range of safety features to be made mandatory from 2022, along with automated emergency braking, electronic data recorders and improved visibility built into lorries for drivers to see vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians around the vehicle. Safety campaigners described the move as one of the biggest leaps forward in 50 years and said it could save 25,000 lives by 2037. The package of measures needs to be ratified by the European parliament, which is likely by September.

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