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Getting England cycling would bring £248bn economic boost says CTC

Study conducted for charity by Leeds University shows benefit of hitting Get Britain Cycling targets

National cycling charity CTC says England’s economy could benefit to the tune of £248 billion over the next three and a half decades if the recommendations of the 2013 Get Britain Cycling report of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) were implemented in full.

The claim is made in research conducted by Dt Robin Lovelace and Fiona Crawford of Leeds University whose report, The Economic Cycle – Quantifying the benefits of getting England Cycling is published today.

With a foreword by the University of the West of England’s Professor Phil Goodwin, author of that APPCG report, the CTC study claims that by comparison, implementation of the government’s Cycling Delivery Plan (CDP), published last October, would bring an economic benefit to England of just £48 billion.

The difference is chiefly due to the impact of meeting the ambitious target set in the Get Britain Cycling report – 10 per cent of all journeys to be achieved by bike by 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050 – against the one set in the CDP.

The government said in that document, described on its launch by CTC chief executive Paul Tuohy as “derisory,”that it wanted to double trips by bike from their current level of 2 per cent by 2025.

Cycling campaigners including CTC also criticised the government for failing to give a firm commitment to spending £10 per head each year on cycling, one of the key recommendations of the ACPPG’s report.

According to the CTC’s report, by 2050 there would be a yearly benefit of £46.4 billion to England were the Get Britain Cycling report’s recommendations met in full, mainly through increased fitness of the population but also through factors such as less congestion and absenteeism as well as better air quality.

Launching the report today, Mr Tuohy said: “Every day it seems a new report is issued that states the UK through an increasing sedentary existence is eating its way into an obesity epidemic that will break the NHS and cost billions to the economy.

“Our report, the Economic Cycle, proves conclusively that cycling can make a real difference to waist lines and the economy – £248 billion worth of difference. However this can only be achieved if ambitious targets to encourage cycle growth are set and there is a proper long term funding strategy in place.

“CTC has joined its cycling and walking coalition partners to call on MPs to support Dr Julian Huppert MP’s amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which would create a legally binding Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. Such a strategy will make the possibility of cycling’s massive return on investment less of a dream and increasingly a reality.”

The charity, together with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sustrans, Living Streets, British Cycling and the Richmond Group, is pressing for an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill currently passing through Parliament that would see a long-term investment strategy put in place for walking and cycling.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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