Today the Government opened the door for more private funding on the UK’s roads (reported across the national media this morning, including the BBC).
Prime Minister David Cameron said ‘it is clear there is not enough capacity on the roads in busy areas’: "There’s nothing green about a traffic jam – and gridlock holds the economy back."
Cycle advocates would argue that busy areas – particularly in town and city centres where many short journeys are made – increased provision for cycling would ease congestion and relieve the pressure on the road network.
Responding to Cameron’s call, Sustrans’ policy advisor Eleanor Besley said: “Many of us who have to use our cars to get from A to B wish there was an alternative – but getting a train can be inconvenient, expensive and unreliable.
“The government should be doing more to improve our rail system rather than sealing the fate of the roads to match the trains.
“Selling off a major asset to overseas investors risks sending money abroad during a recession – it will also keep people dependent on their cars rather than making it easier to use trains, buses and to walk and cycle.”
Should a degree of road privatisation go ahead, there are implications for cycle lanes. London’s Cycle Superhighways are already making use of private cash – from Barclays.
While the success of the Cycle Superhighway scheme is very much up for debate, with many cycle advocates concerned for safety along the routes, London’s cycle hire scheme – which also has some funding from Barclays – has been a more convincing success story of private investment in cycle infrastructure.