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DfT rejects calls for national cycling champion

Tuesday 3rd September 2013

The DfT has rejected a call by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) to appoint a national champion for cycling, according to an article in Public Sector Travel.

Responding to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s report Get Britain Cycling, Norman Baker, local transport minister, said: “The Government has no plans to appoint a national cycling champion.”

He did, however, call on local authorities to identify a senior officer or councillor to take cycling development forward and champion the activity in their area.

In its report, the APPCG calls for national targets to increase cycle use from less than 2% of journeys in 2011, to 10% in 2025, and 25% by 2050. The DfT, however, cited localism as a reason why it will not be introducing national targets.

A spokesperson for the DfT said: “The Government does not believe that to set national targets for cycling will encourage take up at local level. It is for local authorities to decide on suitable/sensible ambitions for their local areas. A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective.”

The DfT also rejected the APPCG’s call for the Highways Agency, the DfT and councils to allocate local funds for cycling in proportion to the share of local journeys made by bicycle. It said that the money involved was “not ring fenced and allows local authorities to decide and implement the solutions that best suit their localities”.

The APPCG also suggests that cycling should have a claim on other Whitehall funds because it contributes to other Government objectives, in particular health.

The DfT said it was working with the Department of Health and Public Health England “to ensure that wider investment in cycling delivers improved population health and a reduction in health inequalities”.

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