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Active Travel

Volume 717: debated on Thursday 30 June 2022

York should be the UK’s cycling capital—it is the home of Active Travel England and it is easy cycling terrain. It was seeing sustained growth, but the growth in car journeys is now exceeding the growth in cycling, and there are concerns about accidents, confidence and a lack of infrastructure. The active travel budget is woefully small compared with that for roads, and less than a third of what is needed to reach the 2025 target for cycling and walking, so what is the Minister doing to ensure that the funding is in place for the scale of modal shift that is needed?

The hon. Lady shares the Prime Minister’s ambition to ensure that half of all journeys are walked or cycled in towns and cities by 2030, as set out in “Gear Change”. We are investing more money than ever—£2 billion—and we have established Active Travel England in York. We have now appointed Chris Boardman MBE as England’s active travel commissioner and I will soon publish the second cycling and walking strategy. Mr Speaker, put simply, there has never been a better time to get on your bike.

The shift from cars to all modes of transport, which will benefit us in environmental and health terms, would undoubtedly be improved by a better ticketing offer for the railways. Does the Minister agree that it is the Government’s job to ensure a well-functioning ticketing system, as opposed to mandating Great British Railways? We have some of the world’s leading ticketing companies putting forward innovative new offers, and it would be better to ensure that shift by incentivising those companies.

That is a bit of a stretch from the question on active travel, but I agree that it is equally important to have modal continuity between active travel and public services. I suggest that my hon. Friend meets the Rail Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Wendy Morton), about that specific question.

Although it is important for people to move from cars to more active travel, the reality for many of us in rural communities is that we cannot, because the bus services are not there and cars are our mode of transport. One way to do it would be through a park and ride—in other words, for people to make their journey from the countryside to the town, park, then ride on a Glider. Is the Minister looking at that?

I certainly am. We are looking at all ways to reduce congestion and enable people to be fitter and to get from A to B in the most cost-effective way. I would be delighted to meet the hon. Member to talk in more detail about all the roles of active travel, lift sharing and park and ride, and the different ways people can now get around with the modern transport revolution.