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We have been taking a fresh look at the whole subject of cycling in order to decide how best to improve facilities and safety for cyclists, and we shall be publishing a consultation paper soon. Meanwhile, we have just carried out a pilot publicity compaign on cycling safety in East Anglia.
I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for that reply, but does he recognise the importance of encouraging cycling and cyclists, given the need for energy conservation? Will he tell us more precisely when we can expect to see the consultation paper?
For the reason that my hon. Friend has given, we recognise the importance of encouraging people to cycle. We are trying to produce some specific proposals to be included in the consultation paper. We hope that the consultation paper will be published some time in the new year.
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that just as cyclists in other countries are helped, something should be done for cyclists in Britain? Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that there should be proper cycle tracks by the side of every major road? Is he aware that thousands of cyclists use footpaths and endanger the lives and limbs of pedestrians because the Government have failed to give cyclists proper protection?
This Government have taken more interest in cyclists than have any other Government for as long as anyone can remember. We are considering our proposals and we shall produce a paper. There is some limit to resources. Meanwhile, we are pressing on with the financing of experimental schemes in a number of cities. At present we are planning schemes in Bedford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Chichester and York. Schemes are already in existence in Peterborough, Middlesbrough and Stevenage, which have been assisted by the Department.
That is a serious question. I am glad to say that I am in frequent correspondence with those who know more about horses than I. I intend to take note of their advice.