Thousands of miles of new bike lanes set for England’s towns and cities will “decimate businesses“ says motorist group as Boris Johnson today announces his next steps in £2billion cycling and walking overhaul.
In the new plans, the Prime Minister aims to set out a comprehensive, long term vision to increase active travel and embed the benefits of walking and cycling into how communities all over England live, work and get around.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “From helping people get fit and healthy and lowering their risk of illness, to improving air quality and cutting congestion, cycling and walking have a huge role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and environmental challenges that we face.
“But to build a healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels.
“That’s why now is the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans yet to boost active travel – so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling.”
However, Howard Cox of the public affairs team FairFuelUK Campaign, was quick to show his concerns surrounding the plans, saying: "In his latest craving to make us all thin and healthy, our Prime Minister is happy to make our towns and cities no go zones for the internal combustion engine. Favouring only 3% of road users in the UK, Boris is to betray the worlds already highest taxed motorists, van drivers and truckers to put in place virtual signalling urban no driving areas, to be replaced with taxpayers financed cycleways, that the massive majority will not use.
“This Government's ignorance will decimate businesses and the economies of our major towns and cities and is a naive knee jerk response to those emotive driven, well financed, so called environmental groups based in the London bubble. FairFuelUK will fight this strategy tooth and nail."
The commitments in the Government’s new plan, which will be funded by the £2billion of ‘new’ money announced earlier this year for walking and cycling, includes:
Transforming infrastructure through building thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities; setting higher standards for cycling infrastructure, to be overseen by a new inspectorate; and improving the National Cycle Network
Boosting investment by creating a long term cycling programme and budget to ensure a guaranteed pipeline of funding
Making streets safer by consulting to strengthen the Highway Code to better protect pedestrians and cyclists; improving legal protections for vulnerable road users; raising safety standards on lorries; and working with the police and retailers to tackle bike theft
Supporting local authorities by empowering them to crack down on traffic offences; and consulting to increase metro mayors’ powers over key road networks
Improving air quality and reducing traffic by creating more low traffic neighbourhoods to reduce rat running, including by consulting on communities’ right to close side streets; putting in place more “school streets” to reduce traffic by schools; intensive funding of 12 new areas to become more cycle friendly, known as ‘Mini Hollands’; and creating at least one zero-emission transport city centre
Helping people live healthier lives by piloting a new approach in selected places with poor health rates to encourage GPs to prescribe cycling, with patients able to access bikes through their local surgery
Increasing access to e-bikes by setting up a new national e-bike programme, to help those who are older, have to travel long distances or are less fit to take up cycling
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’ve got a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a shift in attitudes for generations to come, and get more people choosing to cycle or walk as part of their daily routine.
“The measures we’ve set out today in this revolutionary plan will do just that. No matter your age, how far you’re travelling, or your current confidence on a bike – there are plans to help and support you.”