Government action “urgently needed” to hit walking and cycling targets

An alliance of walking and cycling organisations is urging the Government to “seriously commit” to funding significant improvements in active travel following the publication of a new report.

The Active travel: increasing levels of walking and cycling in England report was published on Tuesday by the Commons Transport Select Committee.

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Cycling UK, speaking on behalf of the Walking and Cycling Alliance (WACA), said: “Investing in safe, convenient and attractive conditions for cycling and walking is a hugely cost-effective way to deliver a wide range of benefits, and we commend MPs from the select committee for their diligence in understanding the urgency of this issue.

“After the Government admitted its current policies will only deliver a third of what is needed to meet its 2025 cycling targets, it’s now vital that it seriously commits to improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure, to benefit communities across the country and to meet its own environmental and health ambitions.

“We share the opinion of the previous transport minister that the walking target is too low; we need a new target which is much more ambitious. Interventions aimed at increasing levels of walking are very cost-effective and should complement infrastructure spending.

“With an ambitious target of ‘net zero’ carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and with transport contributing to 34% of carbon dioxide emissions, cycling and walking have a pivotal part to play. They will also be integral in helping to prevent a series of long-term illnesses from physical inactivity, including stroke and dementia.

“We are encouraged that the Government has commissioned research into what additional resources are needed to meet its cycling and walking targets. We now urge them to publish its findings and act on them as soon as possible.”

The WACA was established in 2018 and is made up of six organisations promoting walking and cycling, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Sustrans, the Bicycle Association and the Ramblers.

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