I beg to move,
That this House
has considered Government support for active travel and local walking and cycling infrastructure plans.
It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Bailey. I am delighted to have been granted this important debate on active travel, and I am particularly pleased to see so many Members from both sides of the House present to take part in it. I declare at the outset that I am a long-standing member of Cycling UK and a member of the all-party parliamentary cycling group. I also sit on the Transport Committee, and I am delighted to see our Chair, Lilian Greenwood, present. We are currently preparing a report on active travel, and although I am not speaking on behalf of the Committee this morning, I suspect there will be strong agreement.
I have been a keen cyclist for many years for leisure reasons, but in recent years I have noticed a gradual but significant change in the way in which cycling is viewed in this country. No longer are we cycling and walking just as a way of getting from A to B. Increasingly, cycling is seen as a crucial element of our approach to not just transport and alleviating congestion, but town planning, public health, obesity, mental wellbeing, air quality, the environment and, of course, climate change. The range of benefits that active travel provides forms the basis of the debate and of my reasons for urging the Government, through the Minister—it is very good to see him in his place—to do more to promote cycling and walking in our cities, towns and villages.