Phillip Darnton, the president of the Bicycle Association and former chairman and CEO of Raleigh, has been officially appointed as the chair of the NCSB. He had been informally chairing the government-appointed organisation since March when Steven Norris, who chaired the board since it was created in September 2001, withdrew to undertake his unsuccessful campaign to replace Ken Livingstone as mayor for London.

Darnton replaces Norris as head of National Cycling Strategy Board

Transport minister Dr. Kim Howells said:

"Steve Norris leaves the job with my profound thanks. He has overseen important work to assess the quality of local cycling facilities and their promotion. He has laid the foundations for still more significant work to come and his

personal support for cycling and his own profile have made a great difference.

"Phillip Darnton has valuable experience as former chairman and chief executive of Raleigh and a successful career in marketing with Unilever plc. He has brought this experience to bear in his work with the Board to date and developed the Bike Hub levy, through which the cycle industry – manufacturers, distributors and retailers – is looking to contribute more than £250,000 to the future of cycling."

In April, Darnton was criticised by helmet-compulsionist MP Eric Martlew for campaigning against Martlew’s private members’ bill to force children to wear cycle helmets. Martlew had claimed Darnton was still an employee of Raleigh. On a number of occasions, Martlew has taken parliamentary pot-shots at Darnton.

It is believed transport minister Tony McNulty has written to Martlew, explaining Darnton’s key role in the promotion of cycling and suggesting Martlew should apologise for the errors he has made in the House of Commons when talking about Darnton.

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