Is the Minister aware that there is a growing desire among local authorities to provide facilities for cycling, but that they are unable to do so because of the Government's restrictive policies concerning local government finance?
As the Minister is such an enthusiast for cycling, will she say what action she is taking to try to end the contradictory situation in which the Government are urging local authorities to do something and are then preventing them from acting because they do not have the money to do it?
It would be wrong for us to dictate to local authorities exactly what, within the overall highways budget, their priorities should be. Every year they are asked to submit a transport policy and programme in which they are invited to give their criteria for cycling schemes. I shall be happy to note those and respond to such TPPs through the TSG. It is, of course, up to local councillors to decide what their priorities are within the overall highways budget.
My hon. Friend referred in her first answer to provision for safety, which is obviously very important. As a cyclist, I can assure my hon. Friend that it would help greatly if the Government were to make early progress with legislation dealing with motor vehicle emissions and black smoke from buses and lorries. That is one of the most unpleasant aspects of cycling in urban areas.
I agree with my hon. Friend about emissions from vehicles which are not properly maintained. The traffic examiners have a right to stop such vehicles. With our speedy progress towards lead-free fuel, we shall certainly make progress in the next few years.