The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking (APPGCW) Parliamentary Bike Ride returned on Tuesday, June 13, with a bumper attendance, including the Minister responsible for Active Travel, Jesse Norman MP.
The event brought together MPs and Peers, experts and advocates for speeches, a bike ride through the city, and a panel discussion focussing on infrastructure.
Held in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the UK, and sponsored by Lime, Dott, TIER and Human Forest, the event started at 8am at Prince Philip House.
It started with speeches from; Minister of State in the Department for Transport, Jesse Norman MP, co-Chair of the group, Selaine Saxby MP, National Active Travel commissioner, Chris Boardman, and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the United Kingdom, Hanno Wurzner.
Highlighting the benefits of walking and cycling at the meeting, Norman said: ‘’What we are doing here is massively expanding the range of options available to every person in this country…We are not just talking about air quality, but essentially health and as I’ve said the whole time, taking up cycling is the single biggest health intervention anyone can make.’’
The group then left and cycled a short circular route through Hyde Park, taking in some of the key cycling infrastructure.
They returned to Prince Philip House for a panel discussion focussing on infrastructure where they heard from; Sophie Edmondson of Active Travel England, Xavier Brice from Sustrans, Dame Sarah Storey the Active Travel commissioner for Greater Manchester, and Shelley Bontje, project manager at the Dutch Cycling Embassy.
This comes at a mixed time for Active Travel, as the spending review in March saw a significant cut to the budget for walking and cycling.
Despite ambitious targets and repeated commitments, there has been concern around the lack of funding and ability to meet those challenges, as highlighted by the National Audit Office’s report released last week.
The group hopes that the event, having brought together such a wide range of stakeholders, will provide renewed focus on the urgency required to deliver the conditions and infrastructure for widespread uptake of cycling.
Ruth Cadbury MP, co-chair of the APPGCW said: ‘”After returning last year, this event is once again a real highlight in the Parliamentary and active travel calendar. It’s a unique opportunity for us all to come together, share a short ride through the streets of London – and talk about the key challenges facing the sector at the moment.
“I look forward to working with colleagues inside and outside of Parliament to enable more people across England to experience the benefits of cycling and walking.”
Selaine Saxby MP, co-chair of the APPGCW, added: “I was delighted that the Active Travel Minister was able to join us for this fantastic event, reinforcing the government’s commitment to active travel. It was great to hear from such a wide range of those invested in the future of cycling and walking and recognise the cross party support for active travel.
“The breadth of organisations and Parliamentarians taking part shows just how much commitment there is to expanding active travel to more and more people. Delivering the wide range of benefits that has, not just here in our capital city, but right the way across the country.”