Our response to the National Cycling Delivery Plan

It took about a year and a half for the government and DfT to respond to the Get Britain Cycling report which led to an unprecedented parliamentary debate on cycling in September 2013.

The Cycling Delivery Plan, which also covers walking, can be found here

And this is our response to the informal consultation:

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To: Department for Transport

Newcycling is Newcastle’s cycling campaign; it is a voluntary and community sector organisation constituted in 2010 which represent 1,500 members. We want to see better cycling conditions and more dedicated space for cycling.

Newcycling has reviewed the Cycling Delivery Plan submitted by DfT on 17 October 2014 and strongly believes that it fails to achieve the step change required to deliver the promised “cycling revolution”. We ask for the plan to be rewritten with firmer and clearer commitments towards cycling.

We ask the government and DfT to show leadership.

In more details, we are seriously concerned by:

the failure to provide funding and commit investment in cycling at the recommended £10 per head per year. Working with the local authorities and LEPs to “explore” how this level of funding can be achieved is simply not enough. Cycling money provided to date accounts for less than 1% of DfT budget per year (based on an annual £12b budget and £374 spend on cycling from 2011 to 2015 quoted in report, p.6). It is derisory. Committing £10 per head, or £600m a year would represent 5% of the entire DfT budget and less than 1% of the DoH budget. It is time that the government put their money where their mouth is.

the lack of focus. There is enough evidence to justify targeted investment on cycling infrastructure. An increasing volume of academic and project related data (Copenhagenize.com, the case for bicycle infrastructure, 2011; Understanding walking and cycling, Pooley et al, 2011; Cycling, Health and Safety, OECD, 2013) converged to the same conclusion: without a built environment conducive to cycling and a road layout providing protection for cyclists, safety will remain a key issue for new and existing cyclists and cycling will simply not be a transport option for people from all ages and abilities. Mass cycling will not happen through behavioural change.

the absence of design standards or reference to road design standards. Guidance is not enough. Professionals require clear standards to design and deliver quality cycling infrastructure (e.g. CROW, NACTO) including the creation of urban cycling networks. The work on developing such standards in England has to start now under clear and strong leadership of the DfT.

the limited recognition of the role of local community groups. Groups like Newcycling play an essential role in catalysing action and community engagement at local level. They also provide independent advice and apply scrutiny to the development, implementation and evaluation of local schemes. They ought to be included in the emerging partnership work in line with the government’s ‘Big Society’ vision.

We urge DfT and the government to show leadership and address the above points in the revised plan and show their commitment to

  • Pulling government departmental resources together to invest in cycling infrastructure
  •  Developing national design standards to deliver quality and consistency
  •  Allowing local community interest groups to influence plans at city/regional/national levels.

Yours sincerely

Claire Prospert, Secretary
on behalf of Newcycling Management Committee