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Cycling

Part of Backbench Business — Private Members’ Bills – in the House of Commons at 9:10 pm on 2nd September 2013.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire 9:10 pm, 2nd September 2013

I congratulate the Government on providing the extra money to support the development of new, safe cycle routes that are separated from traffic. Many people are saying that there should be more money. Yes, we can always spend more money, but the Government have shown great leadership by making this money available. I was especially pleased that some of it has been directed towards national parks, including the Peak District national park to the north of my constituency. Many people spend their leisure time there, yet it is still very dangerous for families to cycle along many of the area’s roads.

My constituency lies across the Derwent Valley Mills world heritage site, the cradle of the industrial revolution which kick-started modern economies, the development of technology and, ultimately, globalisation. However, it is still not possible for a family to cycle safely across the heritage site from one historic site to the next. Part of the heritage site falls within the national park, but the part in my constituency and in Derby, to the south, does not. I would like to ask the Minister to provide some funding to enable the extension of the proposed cycleways down through the world heritage site, via the historic mills at Belper, Milford and Darley Abbey, to the Silk Mill museum in Derby, which many people do not realise was the world’s first multi-storey factory.

The tourism business that could be generated by attracting people throughout the world to share the interpretation of the world’s industrial heritage should not be underestimated. Once the new velodrome in Derby South has been completed and opened, even more cyclists will be attracted to the area. Germany, Austria and Italy have already harnessed the potential of attracting cycle tourists to increase their tourism income, which has the benefit of being spent mostly in local villages and towns, either in the small-scale catering industry or on buying regional products, thereby supporting local growth in jobs and the economy. We are trying to do that in Belper, particularly through the sale of local food and local products. Furthermore, Transition Derby is trying to stop people using their cars one day a week, which is not too much to ask people to do.

Those are not the only benefits that could come from extending the cycleway to the south. The added value of providing a safe cycleway from the Derwent valley into Derby is that it would also serve the needs of numerous commuters living in the towns and villages in the valley, especially Belper, Milford, Duffield, Little Eaton, Allestree and Darley Abbey. It would provide a safe, healthy, carbon-free alternative mode of transport that would reduce congestion and pollution. The benefits of such expenditure to leisure users and city communities is self-evident, and I therefore ask the Minister to consider adding to the current proposals for cycleways in national parks and to fund an extension of the cycle route from Matlock—he will be familiar with Matlock, as it is in the constituency of the Secretary of State—down to Derby through the Derwent Valley Mills world heritage site.