The Government has announced refreshed guidance for its Cycle to Work scheme, which could help more commuters turn to greener journeys using e-bikes.
The refreshed guidance will make it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment including e-bikes worth over £1,000, by making it clear that FCA authorised third party providers are able to run the scheme on their behalf.
Cycling minister Michael Ellis said: “Cycling is a vital and easy way to improve air quality, reduce pollution and create vibrant towns and cities. Making sure that bikes are easily available is crucial to helping more people make the switch to greener modes of transport. Ensuring people of all abilities and fitness levels can cycle together is a key part of this. I want everyone to feel empowered to make cycling a part of their everyday lives, and our refreshed guidance provides many incentives to help people do this.”
The Cycle to Work Alliance, in collaboration with senior transport, environment and health leaders, also welcomed the Government’s update to the Cycle to Work scheme guidance.
Adrian Warren, chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, said: “On behalf of the Alliance, we are delighted the new Cycle to Work scheme guidance has been published. Cycling to work has extraordinary benefits for the environment, our health and wellbeing, and employer-employee relations, and the publication represents a significant step forward in getting more people physically active as part of the Government’s ambitions to double cycling activity by 2025.
“The new guidance will also enable more people than ever to participate in cycling to work, including disabled people, people who live further away from work, older workers and those on lower incomes. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government to ensure awareness of the scheme is maximised to all.”
Ruth Cadbury MP, chair of the Cycling APPG, said: “The Cycling APPG wants to see more people cycling more often. This is why we have been a long-standing and vocal supporter of the Cycle to Work scheme and we’re delighted by the publication of this new guidance. As a cross-party group of parliamentarians, we have been united in our calls for the scheme to be expanded to reflect new innovations in the market, such as the rapid growth in availability and demand for e-bikes.
“This vital modernisation of the scheme will help to ease the financial barriers and convert more potential cyclists into regular active travel commuters. We look forward to working with the Government and the cycling community to successfully implement these new guidelines and make cycling more accessible to everyone.”
Stephen Edwards, director of policy and communications at Living Streets, said: “It’s increasingly important that we commute short journeys in a sustainable way, such as walking and cycling. This improves our health by keeping us active but also helps cut traffic, greenhouse gases and air pollution. We, at Living Streets, offer the Cycle to Work scheme to our own employees. Our Walking Works scheme also provides help for people throughout the UK to walk all or part of the way to work – complementing the Cycle to Work scheme.”
Xavier Brice, chief executive at Sustrans, said: “We warmly welcome the new Cycle to Work scheme guidance which highlights the UK Government’s ambition to make cycling an activity for everyone. Removing the cap an employee can spend on a bike will open up cycling to more people, enabling them to purchase specially adapted or electric cycles, which was not previously possible due to their high cost. Encouraging more people to get on bikes means that more people can enjoy the National Cycle Network. Sustrans is busy making paths on the network more suitable for everyone by removing 16,000 barriers, as well as increasing the number of people who can actively travel to work with a smile on their face.
“There’s no doubt that cycling is good for our health and the environment, which is why we would like all employers and their workforces to take full advantage of the scheme. In future, we would like to see similar schemes on offer for those not in work so that more people can access cycles no matter their age or employment status.”
Matt Mallinder, engagement director at Cycling UK, said: “Electric cycles are a great way to boost cycle use, reducing congestion, pollution and carbon emissions, allowing people to make journeys that are a bit longer or hillier than they’d otherwise want to cycle. Cycling UK hopes the Government’s support will also encourage people who are older, frailer or a bit overweight to discover that they too can enjoy the benefits of cycling for their health, wealth and well-being and that similar support can soon be offered for those who are not in work too.”
The Cycle to Work guidance is the latest development in the Government’s plans to get more people taking up active travel options. Through the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, it will invest around £2 billion on active travel over the course of this Parliament.