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Car-free Environments

Volume 688: debated on Thursday 28 January 2021

What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to make an assessment of the effect on the economy of car-free environments. (911490)

The Government strongly agree that investment in cycling and walking infrastructure delivers benefits to national and local economies, better public health and cheaper travel. That is why, as Members will have heard my colleague just set out, the Prime Minister has announced the biggest ever funding boost to cycling and walking— a total package of £2 billion.

As our high streets struggle and, ironically, York’s Green-Lib Dem council is waving through new car park developments, which will suck even more cars into York, Living Streets’ work on “The Pedestrian Pound” is certainly the antidote, showing that pedestrianisation and investment in the public realm will drive up footfall by up to 35% and retail sales by a similar proportion. Will the Minister work with me to realise York’s potential as a car-free city, so that my community can reap the environmental, social, health and economic benefits of walking, cycling and active travel?

I very much thank the hon. Lady for the way in which she is championing active travel in the city of York, and the Department strongly shares that ambition. For example, she will know of the electric park and ride service that has been delivered, thanks to funding from the Department. We very much look forward to continuing those conversations with her.