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Cycling and Walking

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 22 November 2018

The Department will today publish a response to its recent call for evidence on improving cycling and walking safety. This will set out a vision and a two-year plan of action, with some 50 actions. It will also include a summary of the many steps the Government have taken to encourage cycling and walking and the significant additional funding that has been made available under the cycling and walking investment strategy.

When will there potentially be a new round of funding to support new and upgraded cycle routes such as the planned cycle route in West Wight between Newport, Yarmouth and Freshwater, which will significantly improve our cycling offer on the island?

The Government have made available £1.2 billion under the cycling and walking investment strategy, and that has been supplemented by a range of other funds since then, including the local growth fund. Further funding is to be made available through the highways infrastructure fund and the future high-street funding programme just announced in the Budget. Further funding from 2020-21 onwards will be a matter for the spending review.

Some 5% of my constituents cycle to work, which is double the national average. However, CrashMap shows the number of accidents between my home and Parliament Square and that has frightened me off taking the plunge. In addition, today is our third day in a row of poor air quality alerts. Will the Minister please tell me, in road safety week, what we are doing to tackle the scourge of poor vision and behaviour of construction and delivery lorries and the problem of air quality, which are, literally, a deadly combination?

We are addressing these issues with the utmost seriousness. Today, we are publishing a cycling and walking safety review, with 50 actions designed to pull together a whole suite of Government policies and set in motion further work specifically designed to improve not merely cycling and walking safety, but also air quality and the fight on issues of health and obesity, and to improve access to high streets and economic productivity, all of which go to many of the general points the hon. Lady raises.

Following the success of the Tour of Britain in 2016, the Cheshire East Council leader called Congleton

“The heart of cycling in Cheshire East”,

and town councillor Suzie Akers Smith, who is mayor of Congleton this year, in our 700th year of having a mayor, made cycling her flagship project. Yet despite leading the development of a cycling masterplan for Congleton in 2016, more than two years later, after a number of funding applications and more than 400 meetings, Councillor Akers Smith has been unable to make any progress to obtain material substantive support for her project. Will the Minister meet me and the mayor to discuss this?

I am delighted to hear that Congleton has been declared the centre of cycling in Cheshire East, and I would be delighted to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the problem in more detail.