Active Travel — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Conservative, Witney 9:30 am, 9th July 2019

One of the main points of my speech is that I would like the comprehensive spending review to ensure that active travel is built into our infrastructure plans for the future, for urban areas, towns and, of course, rural areas such as those that many of us represent.

I will deal quickly with some of the benefits of active travel, though I suspect the House will not need a great deal of persuading. Active travel is not only safe, convenient and attractive, but a cost-effective way of delivering the benefits we would all like to see. Cycling and walking are healthy, enjoyable and flexible ways of making a local journey, or a longer journey in combination with a car or a train, and enable us to take cars off the road wherever possible. For wider society, active travel is clean, safe and attractive. It reduces the environmental costs, such as the congestion that I spoke of, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Investment in active travel is also cost-effective for the taxpayer, which I am sure the Minister is aware of and will celebrate. The Department for Transport estimates that investment in cycling and walking yields on average £5.50 of benefits for every £1 invested. That is a significantly higher benefit-to-cost ratio than many large road and rail schemes, which tend to have benefit-to-cost ratios of between £1.50 to £1 and £2 to £1.