UK Parliament Active Travel report calls for long-term funding
This week the UK Parliament’s Transport Select Committee published their report ‘Active Travel: increasing levels of walking and cycling in England’.
The report highlights that Active Travel can combat the huge economic, human and environmental costs of inactivity, climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion. It reiterates the need for a clear Government commitment to active travel and the importance of clear leadership at a national level.
Over 60% of 1-2 mile journeys are made by motor vehicle says, the report; and fewer than 2% of total journeys are made by bike, accounting for just over 1% of total distance travelled. The figures also show that 67% of journeys in 2017 were under five miles.
The committee calls for a a long-term funding settlement for active travel, increasing over time to enable local authorities to make active travel a priority. For the next Spending Review, the Department for Transport should seek whatever funds are necessary to deliver the targets of a revised and more ambitious Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
The Chair of the Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, commented:
“We know that transport comes with a health warning. Road transport is the single biggest contributor to poor air quality and is responsible for some 80% of roadside nitrogen dioxide concentration. Around a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport. However, by the end of 2017, there were over 26 million licensed vehicles in England, an increase of over 35% in the last 20 years.
“We also know that getting active by walking and cycling as part of our daily routine is good for us. It’s good for our health and saves on the cost of healthcare. It can reduce congestion, improve air quality, increase productivity and drive footfall in our town centres.
“There is no battle here – except for hearts and minds. In England, the vast majority of journeys over a mile are made in a car or van. Even for distances of one to two miles, more than 60% of journeys were made by motor vehicle and fewer than 2% of journeys are made by bike.
“The Government must stand up for active travel. It must show real leadership by setting ambitious targets for cycling and especially walking. It must give local authorities the support and funding they need to engage the public and make active travel a priority in their areas. It must do whatever is necessary to persuade more people to get on their bike, or Shanks’ pony.”