by Marcus Leach
An amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, which, if adopted, will include a legal obligation on the government to come up with a cycling and walking investment strategy, has been welcomed by British Cycling’s Chris Boardman as bringing Britain 'one step closer to realising our vision for a cycling nation'.
The amendment will, for the first time, put a legal obligation on the Department for Transport to set targets and investment for cycling. It will also make the transport secretary directly responsible for ensuring that funds are secured to promote active transport.
"Transforming the way Britain travels is not something we can do overnight but this amendment represents a massive shift in thinking and most importantly, commitment. It brings us one step closer to realising our vision for a cycling nation," Chris Boardman said.
"If passed, this Bill will mean that cycling can no longer be ignored as a legitimate form of transport. It makes the transport secretary directly responsible for setting targets and putting in investment.
"And this isn’t just about roads, it could require railway stations, offices and retail parks to all accommodate the needs of people on bikes. I expect all MPs and peers do the right thing and vote through this amendment.
"This truly is a fantastic move and is one that reflects the actions we called for in our #ChooseCycling action plan, launched in parliament last year. British Cycling’s 100,000-strong membership, and everyone who rides a bike, should see this as the start of something really exciting."
British Cycling, along with a coalition of other cycling and sustainable transport bodies, also today issued the following statement:
"We are delighted to see the government demonstrating bold leadership by proposing a cycling and walking investment strategy as part of the Infrastructure Bill. The government is to be congratulated on this important commitment. It is a great opportunity to guarantee long-term funding that will extend travel choice, help to ease congestion and improve our health and our environment.
"The broad coalition of transport and health organisations that has been calling for this amendment pays tribute to the dedication and determination of the parliamentarians of all parties who have kept this issue on the agenda, especially the all-party parliamentary cycling group and their co-chair Julian Huppert MP who tabled the original amendment to the Bill and has been instrumental in making this happen."
Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP and Co-Chair of the all party parliamentary cycling group, said: "I am really delighted that the government has seen the force of our argument and is writing into law the cycling and walking investment strategy.
"It is the right thing to improve health, the environment and congestion.
"My huge thanks go to all the MPs who signed my original amendment, all the people who contacted their MPs to persuade them to support it and the coalition of organisations who have helped to get this outcome."