Reaction to the Comprehensive Spending Review

Cycling looks set to suffer from further cuts in infrastructure investment and a continued lack of leadership from the top in England as the government set out their plans for the coming years.

Programmes to enable and encourage people to make their journeys by bicycle were conspicuous by their absence from the announcements on national infrastructure investment made today by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. Instead, the document 'Investing in Britain's Future' — part of the Comprehensive Spending Review process — shows money pouring into intercity road and rail mega-projects.

Mark Treasure, chair of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain said:

"Given the poor record that this government, and those before it over three decades, have when it comes to enabling and encouraging cycling in this country, and given the wide-ranging spending cuts, we can not say that we are surprised that ministers continue to neglect this issue.

"But we are disappointed that at a time when, more than ever, people are crying out for a cheap and easy means of making their everyday local journeys, the government are instead borrowing billions[2] in order to throw money at impressive-sounding mega-projects that do little to help ordinary people get to work or school or the shops.[1]

"Last year we wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister reminding him that when it comes to investing in infrastructure, there's little that gives a better return than building the paths that enable cycling. As people continue to feel the pinch from the lagging economy, it's clear that the best way to get Britain moving while cutting congestion is to make it easy for us to leave the car behind whenever we can.

"That this government continues to claim to be the 'greenest ever' as it cuts investment in sustainable transport[3] in order to resurrect previously discarded motorway schemes would be funny, were it not so damaging."


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  1. 2 in every 3 journeys made in Britain are of the easily cycleable distance of 5 miles or less. More than 80% are under 10 miles and 95% are under 25 miles. (Department for Transport: National Travel Survey)

  2. Despite our typical everyday journeys being short and local, the government is preoccupied with mega-projects such as the High Speed 2 intercity railway, potentially costing £42.6 billion. £28 billion is to be spent on motorway and trunk road construction. (Latest costs from 'Investing in Britain's Future')

  3. The government has discontinued the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which previously made funding available to local authorities for cycling projects. This fund was already too small, giving just £600m over three years across all forms of sustainable transport, not only cycling, but its loss will put councils in an even worse position for delivering infrastructure of sufficient quality.