An assessment of cycle facility provision by local authorities in England was carried out earlier this year by the English Regions Cycling Development Team for the Steven Norris-led National Cycling Strategy Board for England. However, the best and worst councils were not named. Today, the NCS board has released the best performing councils. But even though Norris says there are councils which exhibit "hostility to the idea of cycling", there will be no shaming...

Norris names best cycle-friendly councils

Every local highway authority in England has been assessed on their provision for cyclists by the National Cycling Strategy Board for England. While the assessment found many good examples of work being carried out around the country, the NCS board said it was "clear that in order to meet targets to boost cycling a lot more effort will have to be made by many councils."

The national assessment was carried out by the English Regions Cycling Development Team (ERCDT). Individual ‘summary sheets’ have been prepared for every council, providing an overview of the state of cycling in the authority. This gives an assessment of each council’s performance against ten key criteria, and a list of recommendations that will help it to increase cycling locally. However, the ‘bell scores’ are not published on these PDFs.

The summary sheets are available at

Steven Norris, chairman of the NCS Board, said: “This work establishes a baseline for performance by local authorities across the country in their work on improving facilities for cyclists The assessment has given us an understanding of the challenges we face in delivering the National Cycling Strategy target to increase cycle use.

"We have found many examples of successful schemes and strategies, which if applied across the country would greatly increase the amount of cycling. We have also identified widespread problems that prevent councils from encouraging cycling, and over the next year we look forward to working with the local authorities to find solutions.

“Although we have found some notable examples of good practice, there are some local authorities where the needs of cycling have been ignored or, worse, there is hostility to the idea of cycling. Given the national target to increase cycling use, this is not acceptable and we will be working hard over the next year to persuade all local authorities to recognise the benefits of cycling. These include reducing traffic congestion, improving the health of the community and less pollution. Councils which do not make provision for cyclists risk losing money from their allocations of central government funding for their transport needs.”

Some examples of good practice by authorities that scored most highly in the selected categories are set out here:

Cycling strategies: Bristol, Devon, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Oxfordshire

Infrastructure: Bristol, Devon, Hull, Leicester, NE Lincolnshire, York

Cyclist training: York (awarded the maximum score against this criterion), Darlington, Sunderland

Promotion: Bristol, Suffolk, Walsall, York

Planning for cycling: Leicester, Gateshead, Somerset

Targets and Monitoring: Gateshead, Nottingham, York

The ERCDT summary sheets set out recommendations on how authorities can improve their performance. The most frequent recommendations are:

1. To carry out better promotion of cycling to the public, through the use of marketing tools and improved information for cyclists (e.g. maps, signing route networks and tourist information leaflets).

2. To improve conditions for cycling on the road, for example through cycle-friendly junction design, speed management and traffic restraint.

3. To provide improved training for cyclists, especially in schools.

4. To promote cycling through workplace and school travel plans.

5. To provide better professional training for staff that are in a position to improve provision for cyclists, in particular transport planners, traffic engineers, planning and development control officers.

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