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Cycling

Part of Backbench Business — Private Members’ Bills – in the House of Commons at 6:35 pm on 2nd September 2013.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd 6:35 pm, 2nd September 2013

I think I have lost that minute—[Laughter.] My hon. Friend owes me 15 seconds but I agree with her and will come to the education side of that point in a moment.

We were also successful in getting £4.5 million for a purpose-built cycling bridge over Foryd harbour in my constituency. That will be part of the Sustrans national coastal cycling network around the UK. On 26 September I will meet Network Rail to see whether we can get a disused railway to connect the coastal path to the country paths further inland. They are currently cut across by a railway bridge, and we want to use an adjacent railway bridge to connect the coastal path to the country, so that the coast will be connected to the castles and cathedrals in my constituency.

I recently met Adrian Walls, a cycleways officer from Denbighshire county council, who is developing a mountain bike route in my constituency. He has not finished yet—it will be probably be finished in about six weeks and will be a state-of the-art mountain bike route. However, I do not think that the fantastic facilities I have outlined in my speech are being used sufficiently. The task is getting pupils in our schools and colleges, and workers, to use those facilities—those multi-million pound investments—which I believe are under-utilised in my constituency. How do we make the most of them? I have met council officers and enthusiasts, who have come up with a vision for a centre of cycling excellence in my constituency, which will be tied in to the back-to-work agenda. It will include cycle maintenance, and importing, assembling and selling cycles. That fantastic facility on our doorstep will be used to train local people, including unemployed people from some of the poorest wards in Wales.

Hon. Members have spoken of tying the cycling agenda to the health agenda. Denbighshire has high obesity levels. How do we get general practitioners to write cycling prescriptions? That has been done in other areas, including in London—Brent and Tower Hamlets have done it. People who suffer from diabetes, arthritis and a range of illnesses would benefit tremendously from cycling. If cycling prescriptions are available in Brent and Tower Hamlets—