I welcome the work that my hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Dudley North (Ian Austin) have undertaken through the all-party cycling group inquiry. We are looking at the recommendations carefully and will respond in the near future. The coalition Government takes cycling very seriously and is committed to leading the country into getting more people cycling, more safely and more often.
I thank my hon. Friend the Minister for that comment. We look forward eagerly to the response and hope that it will be very positive. One suggestion that came up repeatedly was that safety for both cyclists and pedestrians would be driven by 20 mph speed zones as the standard on most residential side streets, but one problem is that the police do not seem to be enforcing them properly. Will the Minister have words with the police to get them to enforce the law?
I entirely agree that 20 mph zones and limits can be useful in particular locations. I know that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary has already taken up the matter of police enforcement with the Association of Chief Police Officers. Of course, operational matters are for the police to decide, but in my view if a local democratically elected body decides that a 20 mph limit should apply, the police should enforce it.
The Minister says that he takes cycling seriously, so when will the Government implement the relevant part of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to enable local authorities to enforce measures against law-breaking motorists who drive in cycle lanes and sit in advanced stop boxes for cyclists?
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary responded to that exact question on part 6 of the Traffic Management Act a moment ago. We have had representations about that; I am considering the matter seriously; we are in discussions with other Government Departments; and I hope to make a statement shortly.
With roads congested, high petrol prices and obesity increasing, investing in cycling generates huge benefits and savings elsewhere. What confidence can the Minister give us that yesterday’s 9% cut in the Department for Transport’s budget will not see the paltry amount of money that Britain spends on cycling reduced still further?
I do not accept that we spend a paltry amount of money. The local sustainable transport fund is £600 million—more than £1 billion with match funding—94 out of the 96 schemes have cycling elements; we have spent £107 million more on a range of cycling schemes in recent months; and there will be a further announcement on cycling spending shortly. I can assure the hon. Gentleman absolutely that spending on cycling will continue.