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MPs and peers call for new Highways Act to support active travel in England

All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking publishes report ahead of forthcoming second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy

Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords have called on the government to make changes to the Highways Act to encourage local authorities in England to invest in active travel initiatives.

Published today with the support of folding-bike firm Brompton Bicycle, a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking (APPGCW) addresses the forthcoming second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS2).

The report is based on evidence provided by a number of stakeholders who expressed their views in writing and in virtual evidence sessions held by the APPGCW.

> MPs and peers launch inquiry ahead of new Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy

One of the recommendations of the report, which you can read here, is the introduction of a new Highways Act, which would require highways authorities to take environmental sustainability and improvements in public health into account when developing and building their networks.

The report’s authors maintain that the Act should place a requirement on local authorities to ensure that any changes to the road network are accompanied by making improvements to people travelling on foot or by bike.

They have also called on the government to set targets for growing active travel to help achieve the carbon emissions goal of Net Zero by 2025, and for five-year funding targets to be set to ensure certainty over how such initiatives would be financed, as well as for a “fair deal” for disabled cyclists, similar to the Motability scheme which provides access to motor vehicles for people with disabilities.

Ruth Cadbury, the Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth and co-chair of APPGCW, said: ‘’It is an incredibly exciting time for active travel; with Gear Change, LTN 1/20 and preparations in motion for the establishment of Active Travel England.

‘’Whilst there is much to be positive about, it is also clear that far more work is needed to realise the potential of active travel and the role it can play in decarbonising our transport network.

‘’This report provides a broad and detailed overview of what is needed to take that next step in delivering wider uptake of cycling and walking – and the many benefits associated.’’

Fellow APPGCW co-chair Selaine Saxby, the Conservative MP for North Devon, said: ‘’Since the first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), the government has shown significant commitment to growing walking and cycling.

‘’With this in mind, we commissioned this report to help focus on what is needed from CWIS2 to harness that recent progress and better understand the challenges and complexities.

‘’The result is an important set of recommendations, which we hope will help to deliver further positive change.’’

Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams said: “This inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking (APPGCW) is a vital piece of work and Brompton are proud to support it.

“The report rightly focuses on what the Government should consider at this important time to build on the positive developments in active travel.

''We particularly believe that access to e-bikes should be prioritised as they unlock cycling for many more journeys by a wider range of people.

“Electric bikes are the only type of electric vehicle not to receive a grant or subsidy from the government,” he added.

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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