Simon MacMichael January 26 2017
Millions of pounds of the £300 million set aside by the government to be spent on cycling in England during the lifetime of the current parliament will instead go on initiatives such as promoting walking to school or work, providing real-time information at bus stops and encouraging people to use car clubs.
That’s the gist of an announcement made today by the Department for Transport (DfT) as it revealed which local authorities outside London would share £64 million in local transport funding for a variety of projects.
The DfT makes clear that the cash is “part of a wider government package of more than £300 million to boost walking and cycling during the current parliament.”
That money was announced by former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), published in November 2015 following the Conservative Party’s victory in that year’s general election.
Referring to funding for cycling in England outside London, the CSR said: “This settlement [to the DfT] also commits more than £300 million to cycling investment between 2015-16 and 2020-21.”
That figure itself included the previously announced £114 million funding under the Cycle City Ambition scheme, meaning that just £186 million was ‘new’ money – which when translated into annual spend per capita of population is around a tenth of the minimum £10 that campaigners have called for. While the per capita spend will be increased once match funding is taken into account, that would still only take it into the region of £2 per person each year.
CTC and Sustrans both said at the time that the amount of money pledged would make former Prime Minister David Cameron’s pre-election pledge to double levels of cycling impossible to achieve, and news that some of the money will be spent on other initiatives is bound to dismay campaigners even further.
And now, road.cc can reveal that by no means all of that money set aside will actually be spent on cycling.
In past announcements regarding funds allocated under the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) – now renamed the Sustainable Transport Access Fund – the DfT has provided brief details of each individual scheme.
However, it has told road.cc that such information is not available with respect to this wave of funding.
By checking details of some individual bids, however, we have been able to establish that much of the money will go towards initiatives unrelated to cycling.