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Charter of Brussels 1: Edinburgh backtracks on 15% target

Charter's cycling targets too tough says the city...

A week after signing up to the Charter of Brussels with its central commitment to cities boosting cycling journeys to 15% of total journeys by 2020 officials in Edinburgh are already backtracking.  

Edinburgh is the only UK city to sign up to the Charter of Brussels, but speaking to city official admit its targets to significantly boost cycling in city centres are more aspirational than achieveable.

Edinburgh was one of 27 cities, plus the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee, which signed the Charter on the final day of the Velo City conference in Brussels.

None of Cycling England's demonstration towns and city did so.

The Charter commits the cities to achieving a target of at least 15 per cent of all trips in urban areas to be made by bicycle by 2020.

As an indication of how ambitious a target this is, the share of trips made by bicycle currently stands at five per cent in Europe, and in London, the British city that is probably doing the most to promote cycling, the administration has set itself a target of five per cent of trips by bicycle for 2025 – and that was described as “ambitious”.

A spokesman for City of Edinburgh Council told “It’s almost putting us out there as if to say right, there we go, let’s use this as a stretched target. Whether these are achieveable you could argue they are very much aspirational.”

The spokesman said the details of Edinburgh’s strategy would be revealed when Marhsall Poulton, head of transport for the City of Edinburgh Council presents his 2030 Vision for Transport in Edinburgh to the transport committee later this year.

The Charter of Brussels was signed by representatives of Brussels, Milan, Munich, Sevilla, Tartu, Reggio Emilia, Houten, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Helmond, Breda, Hertogenbosch, Tilburg, Eindhoven, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Timisoara, Gdansik, Izmit, and the US city of Portland. No word yet on whether any of the other signatory cities thought the target was a real one or not before they signed.

It will now be circulated to other cities in Europe to sign up.

Read our follow up report to find out whether the UK's other two most high profile  "Cycling cities"  will be signing on the dotted line…



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