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"Depressing" decrease in cycling traffic due to government's "flawed" decision to slash active travel budget, says Cycling UK

New statistics showing a 5% fall in cycling from last year should be a “wake-up call for the government”, according to Cycling UK

Cycling UK has called latest findings showing that cycling traffic dropped by 5 per cent from last year "depressing", blaming the UK Government's "flawed" decision to slash the active travel budget, despite lagging behind its modest target of doubling the number of cycling journeys by 2025.

The new statistics for cycling traffic were published by the Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday. The decrease in cycling levels in England comes after the government decided to cut the active travel budget in March this year, described as a "backward move" by the Walking and Cycling Alliance at the time.

However, a recent inquiry by the National Audit Office into active travel in England confirmed Cycling UK’s claims that the government’s investment in active travel fell far short of what was needed to meet the 2025 walking and cycling targets – even before ministers made further cuts in March.

> England’s active travel spend 5,000% less than Scotland’s after budget slash

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK said:  "These statistics should be wake up call for the government, which has already been told in crystal clear terms by the National Audit Office that it can’t meet its own targets without substantially increasing investment in active travel.

"Multiple government polices recognise the carbon reduction, public health, air pollution and economic benefits which flow from more people cycling and walking, particularly for short journeys. It’s therefore imperative that the government reflects on these figures, and urgently reverses the cuts in the Autumn Statement."

In July last year, the government announced that it will invest £3.78bn in active travel schemes until 2025 as part of its refreshed cycling and walking investment strategy.

Trudy Harrison, the minister formerly responsible for active travel, said that the increased funding was part of an "ambitious" strategy to ensure that half of all journeys in towns and cities will be walked or cycled by the end of the decade.

> Government’s second cycling and walking investment strategy outlines almost £4bn funding for active travel – and aims to double the number of cycling trips by 2025

However, following the cuts, Cycling UK joined its partners in the Walking and Cycling Alliance and more than 146 other organisations, including Campaign for Better Transport and Asthma + Lung UK, to write to the prime minister highlighting the disproportionate level of cuts to funding for cycling and walking infrastructure.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also recently indicated a U-turn on his own government’s stated support for low traffic neighbourhoods, ironically one of the measures local authorities can implement to enable more people to walk and cycle safely, at a time when the government is slashing central funding because they are relatively cheap to introduce.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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14 comments

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Steve K | 7 months ago
0 likes

Are there any regional breakdowns for the data, because cycling in London still seems to be booming.

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AReadman | 7 months ago
3 likes

Eburtthebike,

 

Unfortunately, the voters being chased are grokmed into avoiding informative mefia like R4.  Massaging prejudice is at the fore as is/was the case with our Brexit suicide.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to AReadman | 7 months ago
0 likes

AReadman wrote:

Eburtthebike,

 

Unfortunately, the voters being chased are grokmed into avoiding informative mefia like R4.  Massaging prejudice is at the fore as is/was the case with our Brexit suicide.

Two things: why didn't you reply to my post?  and WTH is grokmed?

Avatar
Andrewbanshee replied to eburtthebike | 7 months ago
1 like

I think it is groomed.

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Fignon's ghost | 7 months ago
6 likes

Kent police, police Scotland and other forces have horror stories to delve into. Cyclists send them huge amounts of evidence (for free). The police choose to do NOTHING.

I won't let my kids cycle on the road. It's a shitshow.

Avatar
Muddy Ford | 7 months ago
14 likes

What's killing cycling enthusiasm is the routine killing of cyclists and getting away with it because the killer happens to be driving when carrying out the crime. I can't convince non cycling friends to go cycling with me because they say it's too risky to ride on the roads where there are too many builders speeding in white vans off their heads on cocaine and/or watching TikTok on their phones.  

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levestane | 7 months ago
8 likes

It would be good to have the option to vote for the UN in elections.

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shufflingb replied to levestane | 7 months ago
1 like

I'd take chatGPT if it was on the ballot.

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Secret_squirrel | 7 months ago
5 likes

There is no source I can see for the 5% drop but presuming its annual or 6 monthly its a bit disingenuous to blame a decision only made 5 months ago for it....I doubt all the schemes have even be cancelled at this point the way the machinery of Govt moves.

As much as I am a supporter of CUK - I hate stats being abused.

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Morgoth985 replied to Secret_squirrel | 7 months ago
2 likes

Good point, although Sunak and co weren't exactly ardent advocates before cutting the budget.

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ROOTminus1 | 7 months ago
13 likes

How desperately naive of Cycling UK to think that the current government give a shit about anything, least of all single digit % drop in active travel.

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Morgoth985 replied to ROOTminus1 | 7 months ago
8 likes

That was my first thought too, but actually it's worse: they do give a shit, just in the opposite cause.  They think binning active travel will win them votes.  Almost incomprehensible as it may be, they could well be right.

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brooksby replied to Morgoth985 | 7 months ago
7 likes

The Sun (that is, Rupert Murdoch) has been running articles and op-eds all week saying Sunak must ditch "net zero and the ULEZ" as soon as possible if he wants to survive in office "because they're unpopular with voters"  

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eburtthebike replied to brooksby | 7 months ago
13 likes

I listened to Any Questions on R4 last week, featuring Carla Denyer of the Green Party.  The audience support for her was overwhelming, and in complete contrast to the groans that greeted anything the arrogant windbag tory said.  The tories are completely out of touch with real people, who seem to have finally woken up to the disaster that 13 years of tory ultra-shambles have brought.

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