At today's first meeting of the newly formed National Cycling Strategy Board (packed to the gills with high calibre individuals) John Spellar, the Minister for Transport, outlined proposals for the provision of a cycling fund of up to £1million per year over the next two years to provide support for a range of cycling projects across England. Is it new cash? One of the board members said: "When you're given a tasty cake you don't have to ask where it came from."

English cycling to get £2m government cash

The projects will include creating new cycle parking areas, improving existing cycling routes and creating new cycle routes.

The National Cycling Board will now consider the proposals and further details of the fund and invitations to bid will be announced in the next few weeks.

The board remit covers England and was established to help ensure the implementation of the National Cycling Strategy’s (NCS) outputs, aims and objectives. The board will focus on key tasks identified annually by the National Cycle Forum (NCF). This will involve co-ordinating and integrating contributions to the NCS from all relevant sectors, and monitoring progress on NCS outputs and targets.

The board has overall responsibility for the recommendation of day-to-day policy, advice and guidance to local authorities and government departments, and will also be responsible for proposing revision to the NCS as necessary in the light of wider developments.

At the first full meeting of the board, John Spellar said:

"I am pleased that the board is now fully operational, and has a clear focus on the task ahead.

"Dynamic action is needed to implement the National Cycling Strategy. I and

my Department will give full support to the board in identifying and

unblocking obstacles to progress."

The Chairman of the NCS Board, Steven Norris, said:

"We have been able to assemble a strong Board membership, and I am confident that we shall make rapid progress in opening up opportunities for people to cycle more."

Nine people have so far agreed to serve on the Board:

Philip Darnton

Prof Siân Griffiths

John Grimshaw

Oliver Hatch

Alan Jones

Roger Horton

William Rickett

Lynn Sloman

Christian Wolmar

Two other board members are being sought, including somebody with an education/schools/children slant.


Steven Norris (NCS Board Chairman) is a former Conservative MP, and the

Transport Minister who established the National Cycling Strategy. He has

served as a Conservative Councillor, stood as the Conservative candidate for

London Mayor and is a former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party. Mr

Norris is a patron of Transport 2000 and Sustrans. His commercial interests

include Citigate and First Group London bus operations. He is a Director of

a number of transport-related companies; an advisor to the Abbot Group plc

and to Central Railways Ltd; and President of the Motor Cycle Industry

Association. He is Chairman of the Prince Michael International Road Safety


Phillip Darnton, was educated at Oxford where he read "Greats" before

joining Unilever plc. During a career of 30 years with Unilever, he worked

initially in Marketing functions, before moving into general management as

President of Lever Brothers Canada in 1987. From there he worked for six

years in Brazil as the Managing Director of Unilever’s largest soaps and

detergents’ business, with a turnover of £750 million. After a brief spell

in London as an advisor to the Chairman of Unilever, he was invited to join

the Board of Reckitt and Coleman plc as the Director for Global Marketing.

He is presently Executive Chairman of Raleigh UK, having been the Managing

Director for the past two years. Aged 58, he lives in London.

Professor Siân Griffiths OBE is Senior Fellow in Public Health at Oxford

University, and Visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes University. Until

recently she was also Director of Public Health and Health Policy for the

Oxfordshire Health Authority. She has authored and edited a variety of

health-related publications. Between 1995 and 1999 she was Co-Chair of the

Association for Public Health and also Treasurer of the Faculty of Public

Health Medicine. She is now President of the Faculty. Professor Griffiths is

currently a Board Member of the New Opportunities Fund, a member of the

National Cancer Taskforce and is involved in several local charities. She

has recently completed a part-time secondment to the Rough Sleepers Unit as

their Health Advisor.

John Grimshaw MBE studied Engineering at Cambridge University before joining

contractors Taylor Woodrow; doing a spell with VSO in Uganda; and then

joining consultants Mander, Raikes and Marshall based in Bristol. In 1980 he

left to work full-time designing and developing quality cycle routes, often

on the alignments of abandoned railways. These immensely popular projects

led to the formation of Sustrans Ltd, a registered charity, to carry out

practical demonstration projects pointing towards a sustainable transport

future. The most significant of these has been the £210 million National

Cycle Network, partly funded by the Millennium Commission.

Oliver Hatch was born in London in 1950, and became involved in transport

issues in 1980, joining the London Cycling Campaign (LCC). On the

international level he is Director of the ‘Velo-city’ series of

international cycle planning conferences, and Executive Director of Programs

for Velo-Mondial – an organisation that seeks to promote cycling at a global

level. In the UK, he is the Parliamentary Officer for the Cyclists’ Public

Affairs Group (C-PAG), and is the secretary for the All Party Parliamentary

Cycling Group at Westminster.

Alan Jones is Chief Executive of Test Valley Borough Council, a post which

he has held for the last 5 years. Previously he was Director of Development

at Newbury District Council. His background is in town and country planning

and he has a specialist interest in transport matters. He has written Green

Transport Plans and promoted the principles of sustainable transport in both

the public and private sectors. He is a keen cyclist, both on and off-road,

and he has toured extensively in a number of countries around the world. He

lives with his wife and daughters in West Berkshire.

Roger Horton has been involved in transport since being elected to Sandwell

Council in 1975. He is a past Chair of Technical Services, Environment and

Development Services, and Sandwell and Dudley Transport Users Consultative

Committee. Roger has been a member of the West Midlands Transport Authority

over 14 years and during that time has held various posts and travelled to

many countries to view new forms of transport. He was a local government

representative on the National Cycle Network Steering Committee and a

Director of West Midlands Special Needs Transport.

William Rickett became Director General of Transport Strategy, Roads, Local

and Maritime in the Department for Transport, Local Government and the

Regions in July 2000. He joined the Department of Energy in 1975 after

studying Mathematics, Physics and the History and Philosophy of Science at

Cambridge. He spent three years as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister

from 1981 to 1983, and two years on secondment to the corporate finance

department of the merchant bank, Kleinwort Benson Limited. He was appointed

Director of Finance in the Department of the Environment in 1993 and

Director of Town and Country Planning in February 1997. In May 1998, he was

promoted to be Deputy Secretary in charge of the Economic and Domestic

Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. In January 2000, he was appointed Head of

the Integrated Transport Taskforce in the DETR and published the 10 Year

Plan for Transport in July that year. He was born in 1953, is married with

two children, and lives in London.

Lynn Sloman is Assistant Director of the environmental group Transport 2000,

and a Special Adviser to the Board of Transport for London. She is also a

trustee of the Environmental Transport Association. She has a particular

interest in policy relating to cycling, walking, liveable streets and road

safety. Before working for Transport 2000 she did policy research on science

and environmental issues, and community work in inner London. She has a

doctorate in earth sciences from the University of Oxford.

Christian Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster specialising in transport. He

has a fortnightly column in Rail magazine and contributes to a wide variety

of other publications. He is a keen cyclist who uses his bicycle as his

principal means of transport. He was chair of the National Cycling Forum’s

Intermodality working group. He is a regular broadcaster on both television

and radio. His book on rail privatisation and the consequences of the

Hatfield train disaster, Broken Rail, was published in October and other

recent books include the Great British Railway Disaster, a humorous look at

rail privatisation, and Stagecoach, a history of the company.

In other news...

See.Sense appoints Rikesh Shah as board advisor

See.Sense, the cycling data-technology company, has announced the appointment of Rikesh Shah as a board …