Response to the CWIS – May 2016

Response to ICWS

Question 1 

The Government would be interested to hear views on the approach and actions set out in this Strategy

  • The strategy would have benefited from a review of previous policies on cycling 1979-2010
  • House of Commons Briefing Note SN1097 30 April 2012
  • Golbuff, L. and Aldred R.: “Cycling Policy in the UK: a historical and thematic overview”. ISBN: 978-1905858-7.

The reasons for failure of the previous policies may provide guidance for the implementation of the present plan.

  • The strategy should include additional committed funding by Government, at least until 2020 and identify where other money should be made available and how these funding streams will be co-ordinated locally. Cycling UK reports that the current forecast for spending on cycling per person per year up to 2020 outside London is just 76p.
  • The strategy should include clear milestones for 2020, 2025 and 2040 for each of the objectives.
  • It should set out targets for both walking and cycling and an outline of the resources necessary to reach them; how outcomes will be measured and what evidence will be required. One local body e.g. a Local Council should be tasked with producing a local strategy with clear targets, milestones and resources, in partnership with other organisations.
  • The strategy should identify clear standards for cycling and walking schemes, whether developed through highway authorities or as part of housing or other developments.
  • The CWIS should set out how Government Departments will support this strategy. For example, it is not clear how the proposed expert committee will operate in relation to the UK Cycle Proofing Working Group which was established in March 2015. It is also not clear how the expert committee will operate with Highways England; their publication “Cycling Strategy Our Approach 2016” does not mention the committee under the section “Who will we engage with and why”
  • There does not appear to be any mechanism proposed to report on developments and progress. This is a problem with the UK Cycle Proofing Working Group which has not published any reports or minutes, despite the commitment to bi-monthly meetings, since its foundation in March 2015. It is also a problem with Local Enterprise Partnerships, which do not publish reports or minutes.

Question 2

The Government would be interested to hear views on the potential roles of national government departments, local government, other public bodies, businesses and the voluntary sector. In delivering the strategy and what arrangements could best support partnership working between them.

  • One local body should be identified and made responsible for delivering this strategy, co-ordinating delivery, identifying sources of funding locally, providing public accountability and reporting on progress.
  • CWIS should be made central to the role of LEPs and they should be required to report on progress regularly both locally and nationally.
  • National Government departments should revise their own strategies and targets in the light of the CWIS. Highways England, Departments of Health and Education are key to delivering parts of the strategy as well as contributing resources.
  • Planning policy should be amended so that new developments contribute to encouraging walking and cycling and CIF monies lead to significant improvement. Too many new developments are put forward without good, direct, safe networks of cycling and walking routes in all directions from a site or not built to an acceptable standard.
  • The ‘expert’ committee cannot represent all the wealth of experience and complexity of local needs and circumstances, so it should be required to consult widely with the diversity of cycling and walking groups across the country. For example, British cycling has about 100,000 members; Cycling UK has about 70,000 members; Sustrans has about 4,000 volunteers and many more supporters. Each county has many cycling organisations; Norfolk has about 40 clubs, groups and associations.
  • An independent group should monitor progress on this strategy and recommend preparation of future strategies

Question 3

The Government would be interested to hear suggestions and evidence of innovation projects and programmes which could be developed to deliver the objectives outlined in the Strategy.

  • Local authorities and organisations such as those listed above could provide a wealth of examples for different contexts.
  • One example is that in Holland there are small hand cranked chain ferries which do not require crew or any staff. They are used to cross small canals and rivers and can save many miles off a cycling or walking journey. There are many sites in the UK that could benefit from these ferries.
  • Although not mentioned in the Strategy, Network Rail has a number of initiatives which impact on cyclists including access to stations, parking and cycle hire.  A considerable amount of land is owned by Network Rail and some could be used for cycling infrastructure developments. Where rail bridges, stations and junctions are to be built, replaced, or modified, consideration should be given to incorporating cycling infrastructure . Rail Paths Ltd, who are responsible for old railway lines , bridges, tunnels etc, co-operate with Sustrans to use these resources to develop cycling infrastructure  and should brought within the strategy. There is no mention of the Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) who have an active cycling policy and also own considerable amounts of  land that could be used for cycling infrastructure.

Question 4

The Government would be interested to hear your views on how to increase cycling and walking in particular in typically under-represented groups (for example Women, Older people, or those from Black, Asian or Minority ethnic backgrounds.

  • The TfL report “Road safety of London’s Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Groups” may provide useful information.
  • Sky Ride by British Cycling and Sky has promoted local cycle rides for families, women etc, cyclists in all parts of the UK. Over 1 million has participated since 2009.
  • Sustrans stated (Daily Telegraph 19 Sept 2014) “Safer and higher quality routes and infrastructure are essential in redressing this imbalance [of age, gender or background]”
  • All work on junctions and new roads should include improved safety for walking and cycling as standard. Planning policy should prioritise ‘human scale’ streetscapes in urban areas, without long blank spaces at street level encouraging a greater sense of security for walking

Question 5

The Government would be interested to hear views on what type of assistance,                Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships would find beneficial to support development of ambitious and high standard Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans

  • Without identified and committed additional funding this strategy will not be deliverable
  • It is essential given the variety of local arrangements with unitary, county and district councils, LEPs and Highways England, that clear responsibility for drawing up a local strategy, co-ordinating delivery and reporting on progress is identified.
  • A clear set of milestones for 2020, 2025 and 2040 for each of the objectives with key performance indicators for both walking and cycling and an outline of the resources available at least until 2020.