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Volume 975: debated on Wednesday 5 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set up a departmental study group to bring forward further proposals to promote the use of cycles as a method of easing traffic congestion.

No, although I would welcome the greater use of bicycles. My traffic advisory unit is already examining, with the Transport and Road Research Laboratory, a wide range of measures which would provide for cyclists; and we will continue to give financial support to local authority schemes containing new ideas.

Does the Minister accept that more and more people are using this form of transport to get to and from work, and that many more ought to be encouraged to do so? Does he also accept that this is beneficial in terms of the environment, health, energy saving and so on? Will he ensure that all the cycling interests are consulted about the many new road programmes that have not been mentioned today? Finally, does he accept that the only flaw in all these arguments is that if the Government remain in office for much longer people will not be able to afford a bicycle pump, never mind a bicycle.

For a moment I thought that I would be able to agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman. While refuting the last point, I am glad to say that I agree with his other remarks. My right hon. Friend has already met the cycling organisations and we are encouraging a large number of local authority schemes up and down the country.

Is the Minister aware that when Mr. Speaker cried foul earlier, I did not just want to congratulate him? Is he aware that unless he completes the Port wood to Denton section of the motorway, the only way in which one will be able to get through central—