A very quick response to the Armitt review
You are right in your diagnosis of the problem in that cross-party support is currently missing. As such a national transport plan, soundly based on data and numbers for example carbon emission reduction and sustainable road safety is needed. There of course is the car/oil/road lobby constantly and elaborately skewing the debate towards unachievable targets and outcomes usually “driven” by short-term economic gains. Then there is the mis- or uniformed politician receiving this information which, when used unreflected, is calamitous.
The political debate however has to move on. I’d think that an education campaign amongst elected parliamentary representatives would be of great use and could lead to a real sea change. It would open eyes to the actual harm they – as leaders of this country – are doing to people, country and planet. Harm that is done by opposing concepts of liveable cities and supporting (maybe unwittingly) a transport system which very soon will not be fit for purpose due to fuel, space and other environmental constraints. A public debate can then follow.
We have to ask ourselves what future we want for our children, and realise the potential and latent demand of active travel, and cycling in particular: we require to build a coherent network of urban and interurban cycleways to provide a tangible and viable alternative to the car for short journeys, and provide an inclusive and safe bike transport system for children, women and older people. For that transformation to take place, sustained and sufficient funding is required – it would also be an investment into many non-transport aspects such as public health and resilience.
Other countries such as notably Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, have completed this infrastructure transformation; and it would be useful for us to learn from them, their organisational systems and political mechanisms.
It may also interest you that we submitted a reply to Lord Adonis’ NE-LEP review.
We hope you find this useful.
Chair, Newcastle Cycling Campaign