I congratulate my hon. Friend Robert Courts on securing the debate.
I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to an excellent opportunity to support an important cycling infrastructure plan in my constituency. The route would link Liskeard, Looe and Plymouth and is expected to bring up to £3 million per year into the important local tourism economy. A detailed feasibility study has already been undertaken for the Looe Development Trust. That had widespread support, having been funded by Cornwall Council, the LEADER EU funding programme, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly local enterprise partnership, Liskeard and Looe Town Councils, Liskeard Town Forum, and the Cornish mining world heritage site. I have a copy of the report, which I am happy to give to the Minister after the debate.
Tourism is massively important to my local economy. Research shows that the proposed scheme could generate millions of pounds in extra spend with accommodation providers, local restaurants and shops and many other services. I also anticipate new businesses, including cycle hire businesses, creating new jobs in my beautiful constituency.
In Cornwall, we know the benefits that such trails can provide. There is already a fantastic route in north Cornwall, between Padstow and Bodmin along the Camel Trail. Its success is clear from all the cycle hire businesses and other successful businesses along the route. It would be great if we could repeat that successful venture in my constituency. It would bring health benefits and allow people to get on a bike in beautiful surroundings and a safe environment, which we do not always get in our cities.
Simon Pratt from Sustrans, the UK charity that makes it easier for people to walk and cycle, said:
“These trails fill a missing link in the national cycle network, connecting with Plymouth and Dartmoor to the east and Bodmin and the Camel Trail to the west. The Looe to Plymouth section in particular has been on our radar for many years and I hope that the time has come when it can now be delivered. As well as the tourism benefits, these trail routes are well connected to the railway network at Bodmin Parkway and Liskeard and offer more sustainable travel options for commuters and local people” in a rural location. I would appreciate it if the Minister looked at this thorough, well thought-out proposal and worked with local partners to ensure its completion.