Gear Change Commitment
My response to the Campaign for Active Travel
Thank you for contacting me about the Government's 'Gear Change' commitments.
We recognise the intrinsic value of walking and cycling to our society. As well as being greener, active travel helps to reduce pressure on public transport and the road network and to keep our communities healthier.
Constituents will be aware of my longstanding support of active travel options. I have been an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling for a considerable amount of time and, since serving as a Transport Minister under Margaret Thatcher, have been a vocal campaigner in support of cycling.
We can recognise the investment the Government is making in support of cycling and walking. Over £2 billion has been pledged over the course of this Parliament. As part of this, the 2021 Autumn Budget included £710 million of new investment in active travel funding over the next three years. This funding will deliver hundreds of miles of high-quality, segregated cycle lanes, provide cycle training for every child and deliver an e-bike support programme to make cycling more accessible.
The £710 million investment builds on a £338 million package announced in July 2021, which is already delivering high-quality cycle lanes and aiding the delivery of new schemes to encourage walking. In total, I am told that over 1,000 miles of safe and direct cycling and walking networks will be delivered by 2025.
In June, earlier this year, the Government announced that former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman will serve as National Active Travel Commissioner on a permanent basis in order to drive forward active travel efforts and ensure that cycling and walking become the natural choice for shorter journeys. Chris Boardman has emphasised the essential importance of ensuring that active travel is safe and easy.
The newest version of the Highway Code introduces a ‘hierarchy of road users’, a concept whereby the road users able to do the greatest harm are bestowed the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to other road users. The hierarchy is designed to bring about a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users. At the top of the hierarchy is pedestrians (in particular children) older adults and disabled people, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists.
Have confidence that, in conversations with the Chancellor and the Transport Secretary, I continue to make clear the case for active travel investment.
Thank you once again for writing on this important topic.
Sir Peter Bottomley MP