Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Leaders of authorities in Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford have sent a letter to the government to ask if a call for additional cycling funding is likely to be supported.
Andrew Gilligan’s ‘Running out of road’ report, commissioned by the National Infrastructure Committee to explore the potential of the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford arc, called for a consistent high-quality approach to cycling infrastructure.
The report also made the case for a £200m funding boost to maximise cycling rates and maintain the growth corridor’s competitive position within the national economy.
GCP Chair Cllr Lewis Herbert and the leaders of Milton Keynes Council and Oxford City Council sent a joint letter to transport minister Jesse Norman MP last week to ask if Mr Gilligan’s request for additional central funding would be supported.
In the letter to the minister, the leaders wrote: “Serious investment in cycling infrastructure, to the standard of the best in continental Europe, is desperately needed. The money for cycling infrastructure is not an optional extra, it has to be fully funded by government as part of our growth agenda."
Our cities are well placed to capitalise on additional cycling investment and the political will exists to challenge the status quo; we believe we can work together to create an exemplar model for other parts of Britain.
Noting your acknowledgement of the report, we hope you are keen to make this ambition a reality, and to ask whether Andrew Gilligan’s request for additional Government investment in cycling in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor is likely to be supported.”
In the past three years, Cambridgeshire councils have invested more than £18 million in growing the local cycling network, with up to £50m of investment earmarked for cycling-specific projects to 2021, with a particular priority for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, assisted by “City Deal” funding.
Nearly half of all work journeys (43%) in Cambridge are already made by bicycle and it is the mode of choice for a third of residents, with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and its partner local authorities keen to improve those rates further.
Schemes currently underway include improved cycling provision along key routes into the city, the Chisholm Trail - linking the north and south of the city - and the start of public consultation on 12 separate Greater Cambridge Greenways to connect surrounding towns and villages with safe, off-road routes into the city.
Earlier this month the GCP’s Executive Board approved a £ 4.6m package of cycling ‘quick wins’– high-quality upgrades that can be delivered by the end of 2020