Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Infrastructure Bill: a legal obligation to implement a cycling and walking strategy

The Infrastructure Bill was heavily cricised on several counts:
Futures Forum: The Infrastructure Bill, trespass law and fracking ... Parliament votes in favour

However, on cycling infrastructure, the Bill won almost universal praise:

Chris Boardman: Infrastructure Bill changes a massive step in right direction

Stuart Clarke January 22, 2015

For the first time ever, the Government will have a legal obligation to implement a cycling and walking investment strategy

British Cycling’s policy advisor, Chris Boardman, says an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill means cycling as a mode of transport can no longer be ignored.

The amendment was agreed on today by the Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and results in a legal obligation on the government to come up with a Cycling and Walking investment strategy.

The Department for Transport will be obliged to set targets and investment for cycling and will have to ensure funds are secured to promote active transport.

Boardman said on the BC website: “Transforming the way Britain travels is not something we can do overnight but this amendment represents a massive shift in thinking and most importantly, commitment. It brings us one step closer to realising our vision for a cycling nation.

“If passed, this Bill will mean that cycling can no longer be ignored as a legitimate form of transport. It makes the transport secretary directly responsible for setting targets and putting in investment.

“And this isn’t just about roads, it could require railway stations, offices and retail parks to all accommodate the needs of people on bikes. I expect all MPs and peers do the right thing and vote through this amendment.

“This truly is a fantastic move and is one that reflects the actions we called for in our #ChooseCycling action plan, launched in parliament last year. British Cycling’s 100,000-strong membership, and everyone who rides a bike, should see this as the start of something really exciting.”

>>> Get Britain Cycling plan could net £248bn by 2050, according to research

Chris Boardman: Infrastructure Bill changes a massive step in right direction - Cycling Weekly

It seems, now, that local authorities will be obliged to 'do more on cycling'. 
Futures Forum: Councils, 'take note'! >>> “The future could be one where bikes rule the road, just as they did in the 1890s."
Futures Forum: Creating a Dutch-style cycling culture in the UK

As one commentator to this blog notes:
It will be interesting to see how the requirements outlined filter down from central Government  to DCC and even EDDC !

Sustrans have been at the forefront of the campaign:

Cycling and walking investment strategy now law

13 February 2015

The Infrastructure Bill has become an Act, and so for the first time the Secretary of State for Transport will be required by law to set out a strategy for cycling and walking infrastructure and importantly the funding provided to meet it.

The Infrastructure Act sets out the government’s ambitions to build a better transport system. Although initially focusing on a Roads Investment Strategy, Sustrans, with a number of other leading transport groups and health organisations,successfully campaigned for the inclusion of a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy to also be included in the Act to ensure that active travel is considered as a priority area for investment.

This historic win means that for the first time there is a legal obligation on the government to set targets and investment for cycling and walking.

Since our Campaign for Safer Streets was launched in May 2014 we’ve been calling for long term, dedicated funding for walking and cycling, particularly to help children travel to school by foot and bike. To make this happen we have been pushing for an investment strategy for walking and cycling to be enshrined into legislation.

Our supporters took up the mantle, sending emails to their MPs requesting that they put their name to the amendment to the bill. Because of the strength of feeling shown by you, we will see real change in how sustainable transport is recognised in this country.

Jason Torrance, policy director at Sustrans, said:

“This is an historic opportunity to guarantee the long term funding that will extend travel choice, help ease congestion and improve our health and our environment.

“This new law is the result of the hard work of parliamentarians of all parties who have kept this issue on the agenda, the broad coalition of transport and health organisations that lobbied for it and above all the thousands of people who contacted their MPs.”

Sustrans and our partners will continue to campaign. We still have some way to go to make sure that political parties commit to adequate funding ahead of the General Election and beyond. We hope that we can count on your continued support over the coming months.

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