Meeting with Trudy Harrison MP
All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking (APPGCW)
Trudy Harrison MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport)
Monday the 21st March – 3pm – 3.45pm
Introduction from Selaine Saxby MP
- Welcome everyone to the second APPGCW meeting of the year. Today we are fortunate to be joined by my colleague Trudy Harrison MP, who is the Minister responsible for active travel at the Department for Transport.
- She was appointed to the role in September last year, and is the Member of Parliament for Copeland.
- She is here today to provide an update on the Department for Transport’s active travel policy.
Trudy Harrison MP
- Brief now includes issues such as decarbonisation, active travel, aviation, space launches etc.
- Predominantly features how we are going to decarbonise, it is very much about future fuels and the legislation we need.
- But not all about vehicles, so the addition to the brief fits really well. If we want a happier and healthier society then walking and cycling is going to play a huge part.
- The PM is such a keen cyclist, the only non secret is that he does not get out on the bike anywhere near as much as he does want to.
- Half of all journeys in towns or cities will be walked or cycled by 2030.
- Pandemic led to appreciation of the great outdoors and people wanting to get fitter.
- In terms of where we are going now, we have Gear Change which is fantastic policy and more than we have ever committed. Who will be delivering this? The appointment of the interim chief executive of ATE has put us in a position to start moving forward with the executive body.
- Was a keen mountain biker, and taught Bikeability when a school governor.
- Need to have infrastructure that works for everyone. Not just a focus on towns and cities but rural as well.
- Have set out active travel – anticipate that ATE HQ will be in York – and currently in the process of setting up the board.
- Funding is significant.
- Want to ensure that infrastructure delivered is of a high standard. That is why we have to have LTN 1/20 now and in the future if they want to secure Government funding.
- Have seen some pretty poor cycling infrastructure – a white line on the road does not constitute good infrastructure.
- We need to be thinking also about people who had not considered cycling before, how do we get them on bikes.
- Working closely with Victoria Prentis on how to work with farmers and other land owners on how to make it worth their while to help with cycling routes and infrastructure.
- Looking forward to visiting other countries to understand what it is in those communities in terms of how you encourage children and look at different type of bikes.
- Our infrastructure has been designed not to allow bikes such as e-cargo bikes.
- ATE is going to become a real game changer. With a huge new focus on the quality and making sure we are not delivering poor quality cycle lanes. A big agenda for us in terms of walking and making our town centres more walkable.
- Walking will do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to achieving our target of 50% of journeys in towns and cities.
Q and A
- Some questions have been provided in advance, but please do feel free to put questions in the chat as well.
Closing remarks from Ruth Cadbury MP
PRE SUBMITTED QUESTIONS
How is DfT working across Government to deliver more effective active travel policy change? For example there are particular barriers for reaching every child with Bikeability without it being part of the curriculum. How is DfT working with DfE, DCMS, DHSC and DLUHC to promote active travel?
- 20 million going into Bikeability this year.
- At official level, have dialogue with colleagues in different departments. Well established network of cross Government working together. Always more that can be done.
- Can sometimes be hard to find people to do the training. This is why Trudy learned how to do it and did it herself.
- Would be helpful to understand why some schools do not do Bikeability and work out what could be done instead.
- Is it unfair that it relies on TfL funding?
- Have not traditionally provided funding for TfL, but things have changed so discussions are going on about being able to provide further funding – and is linked into wider questions about TfL funding.
The Times reports that the treasury will take a £2.9 billion windfall in taxes attributed to record fuel prices in this year alone – this money is nearly 50% more than the five-year active travel budget.
- Matters of funding are for the Treasury. We do have six times the funding that we have ever had for cycling.
- Funding from fuel duty goes into Government reserves so is already the case in some ways that it pays for active travel.
What are the Minister’s top three new active travel corridors, either planned, under construction or recently opened?
- Should have some news in the next few weeks on which local authorities have been successful for various schemes.
- If children can establish health and safe routines in the first phase of their life then that really will put them in the best possible situation to look to walking and cycling in later life as well.
When will the DfT formally notify councils outside London of the approval to use ANPR cameras?
- Timelines can be difficult, but hopefully more news in Parliament in the Summer.
Education for cyclists and walkers?
- New Highway Code sets out the hierarchy, and sets out how we expect people to care for each other.
- In terms of increasing penalties, more news coming this week.
- Does sometimes seem that there is a divide between people cycling and driving.
- Important to recognise we are all just people trying to get places. Have to recognise that cycling is an income generator, and is also so good for health and our environment etc.
- Would welcome feedback from members on language.
The Highways maintenance and Integrated Transport Block funding formula allocations announced on 28 Feb were based on a formula that hasn’t been updated since 2013, based entirely on road lengths with 0% for cycle and footway lengths. Councils with longer lengths of these will not get any added funding which will affect urban areas in particular. Can this be looked at so that future funding rounds (post 2025) can reflect the increased importance given to cycling & walking?
- Happy to look at this. Population should not decide funding,
- ATE will also look into this, This is a travel revolution and is all about equality and inclusion.
- Looked at including some other factors for the formula but sometimes it is difficult to get the data.
Darren Henry MP – School streets?
- Suggested a meeting with MPs and ATE.
Ruth Cabdury MP
Lots of schemes went in Hounslow during the pandemic, many of which are very simple. One of the difficult areas in Chiswick, since the scheme has gone in it has taken about 8-10,000 vehicles from the area. Achieved drop in pollution, RTIs etc.
Problem is the complexity of it, and so need to have flexibility. Can the department support?
- Have to have flexibility and be able to try things so that schemes can be changed where required without wasting money etc.
- Want to bring people with us.
- It is complicated, this stuff is very difficult. One of the challenges was some authorities did rush things in and they were not right the first time. Councils should be able to experiment – and the key is to engage properly with local businesses and residents and stakeholders.
- Would it be helpful for Ruth to write to Trudy about the specifics of the scheme in Chiswick.
- Marking and registration is a inexpensive and highly effective way to deter theft of bicycles, so could more funding be made available for this important intervention to keep people cycling?
- Wish she had marked her own bike when it was nicked.
- Working with BTP to consolidate registers and schemes to make it easier for the police.
Ruth Cadbury MP
- Thanked Trudy for coming to the meeting and for supporting.
- Lots of work that can be done to remove the barriers to people choosing