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Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to increase the number of people who cycle. (302687)

The Department for Transport is providing considerable support for projects to increase cycling, through Cycling England. Cycling England was established by the Department to get more people cycling, more safely, more often. We have increased their budget to £140 million over three years (running from 2008-09 to 2010-11).

Current cycling projects include the Cycling Demonstration Towns and Cycling City (we are investing £48 million in these) and ‘Bikeability’ cycle training. The first six cycle demonstration towns showed an average increase in cycling of 27 per cent. Our grants for Bikeability will enable an extra 500,000 children to take part in cycle training which meets the National Standard by 20121. This year, we are providing almost £10 million to train around 200,000 children.

In September of this year, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced a major £14 million package to transform facilities for cyclists at rail stations (£4 million of which is from Cycling England’s budget).

In October of this year, the Department set up the Cycle to Work Guarantee. Signing up to the guarantee commits employers to helping their employees cycle to work, by providing them with improved cycle facilities, and giving them access to the Government’s tax break scheme for new bicycles and equipment.

The Department is also developing the evidence base for the outcomes and benefits of cycling, and provides guidance on increasing cycling to local authorities. For example, in November this year, we produced guidance to local authorities on delivering sustainable low carbon travel2.

We have also invested £10 million from 2004-09 on the ‘Sustainable Travel Towns’, initial results of which indicate cycling increases of at least 12 per cent.

1 The ‘National Standard’ for cycle training (for children and adults) was launched by us in 2005.

2 Delivering Sustainable Low Carbon Travel: An Essential Guide for Local Authorities (November 2009).