At a national summit to mark the start of Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Week today, Chris Boardman will be joined by UK Cycling and Walking Commissioners and city leaders to call upon the government to stop millions being wasted on poor infrastructure.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Stockport paralympian Dame Sarah Storey and Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman said that millions were being spent on infrastructure that was potentially unsafe for UK cyclists.
Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said:
“It’s tragic that hundreds of millions of pounds of government money have been spent on sub-standard cycling and walking infrastructure. If national government were to adopt these asks we’d be on a winning streak and could truly transform Britain’s towns and cities, not to mention massively improving air quality and health. We need to make decisions based on evidence and we’ve got compounding evidence that this is the right thing to do for our society. It’s not a quick win, it’s a 10-20 year evolution, but we can’t afford not to do this and we simply cannot go on as we are. This is a no brainer.”
Cycling and Walking Commissioners from across the UK have today called on the government to empower them truly to do their jobs by giving cycling and walking the funding it deserves, making a political commitment to minimum quality levels and accounting for the true cost of car use to society.
Stockport’s Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner for Sheffield City Region, said:
“A nationally coordinated approach to active travel is vital and I am delighted to be signing this letter alongside Commissioners from other regions. There are common barriers for which a centralised approach will enable to us to succeed in delivering high quality active travel schemes. In Sheffield City Region I am making four pledges: to be led by our communities; to enable walking and cycling rather than just encourage it; to build infrastructure which will meet or exceed minimum requirements; and to build infrastructure which will be accessible to all. I am at the beginning of my journey as Active Travel Commissioner but I’ve been so inspired in what Chris Boardman is doing with Andy Burnham over the Pennines and by the new infrastructure unveiled in the West Midlands. It’s brilliant to have the opportunity to work closely with Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, to create a transport system which prioritises active travel. I am confident through the strength of our voice collectively we will be able to make an even greater difference to the choice people have when choosing to travel in the UK.”
In a joint letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the Commissioners are calling for five policy changes that could truly transform Britain’s towns and cities through active travel, as has been done in so many places worldwide.
The five policy asks in full are:
- Commit to long-term devolved funding
- A political commitment to minimum quality levels
- Enable the local retention of fixed penalty notices to fund road danger reduction measures
- Enable us to innovate by keeping road traffic regulations under review
- Transport investment decisions should account for the true cost of car use to society
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
“If we want our country to be a healthier, wealthier and more liveable place for everyone, then we need to give people an attractive alternative to the car. In Greater Manchester we’ve taken the significant decision to invest £18 per head on cycling and walking over the next four years. We’re doing things differently here in Greater Manchester and we want to show the rest of the country that we can change the way we travel around our city-region. In the North West a revolution in cycling and walking is possible.”