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Abolition of Cycling Quango

18 October 2010

Abolition of Cycling Quango

 

Abolition of Quango Cycling England – Is this the end of Bikeability?

 Government’s decision to abolish Cycling England might just cut free all the good work that has been achieved through National Cycling Proficiency training, Bikeability.  The abolition of Cycling England is believed to take effect from the end of March 2011.

Has Bikeability worked or is it just another well intentioned scheme that at ground level is something else altogether?  Could local business effectively train people to be safe and confident on a bike and achieve this goal cost effectively, or should we leave the training to national bodies?

What’s been said…?

Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England;
“While the abolition of Cycling England is bitterly disappointing, we are relieved by the Minister’s statement on September 27th that “Bikeability is safe”.

Phillip Darnton  continued; “However, neither the Minister nor DfT officials will discuss either the level of funding or the scale of their future intentions for cycle training. We will be pressing for clarification as soon as the Comprehensive Spending Review is published on October 20th. Discontinued funding would mean a new generation lost to cycling, and a risk of increased accidents through lack of proper instruction. This prospect is alarming in its implications for childhood obesity and the environmental impact of a further increase in car trips to school”.

The Government has indicated that in future, local authority cycling schemes will be supported though a ’Local Sustainable Transport Fund’.

Cycling England Board Member Lynn Sloman commented;
“If the Government is to build on the last five years progress in getting more people cycling, it will need to do more than simply allocate grants. Cycling England’s experience is that in order to get results, you need to cut through the red tape, and really support, engage, enthuse and challenge. You need to combine the energy and passion of the cycling NGOs with the expertise of professional local authority teams; you need to share ideas and experience; and you need visionary leadership. We appeal to the Government to recognise this challenge”.

Malcolm Shepherd, Chief Executive of Sustrans;
 “Cycling England has been a crucial conduit for funding which has touched the lives of millions of people by making it possible for people to cycle for everyday journeys.  “With increasing challenges of health, congestion, carbon reduction and energy security, the low cost solution that cycling offers must be pursued with more vigour than ever. And local authorities must increase their efforts to work with charities and other partners to make it possible for more people to get around by bike.”

Malcolm Shepherd continued; “The new Local Sustainable Transport Fund must not be a smokescreen for wider cuts to the spending that gets people cycling, walking and using public transport. From Sustrans’ own practical work we know that minimal investment can reap huge rewards, for example, every £1 spent on encouraging people to change their travel behaviour brings a benefit of £8.   The Fund must ensure that the benefits of Cycling England’s successful work are not lost and smarter travel choices are extended to an increasing number of people.”

Transport Minister Norman Baker who has responsibility for cycling explaining the new fund said;

“We want to give more power and more flexibility to local authorities as we strongly believe that they know best what is right for their communities.”

“As there will no longer be a dedicated cycling pot of money, but instead a much broader fund, we feel that Cycling England is not the right way to continue to incentivise and encourage local authorities and others to stimulate cycling.”

Author: H-B Designs



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