The Government has been warned its vision to make England a ‘great walking and cycling nation’ cannot be delivered without a ‘substantial’ increase in investment – after cutting funding for 2021/22.
In July, the Government set out a ‘comprehensive, long term’ plan to embed the benefits of walking and cycling into daily lives – pledging to put in place the right infrastructure, training and support to ‘kickstart a revolution’. The commitments in the plan are backed by £2bn of new money – funding which was reaffirmed by chancellor Rishi Sunak is his spending review on 25 November.
However, Mr Sunak also announced a 15% decrease in annual funding for cycling and walking in 2021/22, down from £300m in 2020/21 to £257m. This means a £1.5bn investment is needed in the final three years of this parliament, the equivalent to £500m a year or around double the current level of investment.
Cycling UK says while the Government’s ambition for active travel is impressive, the spending review “takes us backwards when it comes to delivery”.