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Cycling England perishes in quango purge

Thursday 14th October 2010

Cycling England has not survived the Coalition Government’s ‘bonfire of quangos’, according to a report in BikeBiz.

Cycling England, which has three full-time staff and a Board drawn on a voluntary basis from organisations including CTC, Sustrans and British Cycling, costs £200,000 a year to run. In 2009/10 the Department for Transport, aided by other departments, gave Cycling England a budget of £60m.

In a PDF version of the Cabinet Office’s ‘quangos list’, Cycling England’s fate is sealed as follows: “Abolish body: we have announced a Local Sustainable Travel Fund and will explore ways of marshalling expert input on cycling issues, including to support the Fund."

Norman Baker, under secretary of state for transport and minister in charge of cycling, said: "This new Coalition Government is firmly committed to cycling. That is why it is expressly referred to in the Coalition Agreement.

"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."

Phillip Darnton, Cycling England chairman, said: "Critically the decision to abolish Cycling England threatens the future of national cycling proficiency training, Bikeability.  This scheme currently receives £12 million per annum through Cycling England from the Department for Transport.

"While the Under Secretary of State has indicated that the Department for Transport will maintain support for the scheme, there are as yet no details as to how this will be effected.

"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.   

"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."

Click here to read the full BikeBiz report.

Click here to see the Cabinet Office’s PDF quango list.

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