Active Travel — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:46 am on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Minister of State (Department for Transport) 10:46 am, 9th July 2019

I am afraid I have less than two minutes left, so I will have to continue.

I will just address the issue of safety, which I think the hon. Lady mentioned. We will achieve our ambitions only if people feel safe when cycling and walking, and that is something the Department has prioritised in recent months. I recognise that concerns about safety are a disincentive to a number of people. Following a major cycling and walking safety review, we published a Government response setting out 50 separate actions, including reviewing guidance in the highway code and encouraging local councils to invest around 15% of their local transport infrastructure funding on cycling and walking infrastructure.

However, it is not just about the scale of investment, although that is massive; it also has to be the right investment in the right places. This is why my Department is supporting the preparation of local cycling and walking infrastructure plans. We are currently providing a £2 million package of technical and strategic support to 46 local authorities, including Portsmouth, Oxfordshire and dozens of others. The support package will assist with the development of their plans, often made in partnership with the local enterprise partnership. Local cycling and walking infrastructure plans do not come with dedicated funding for implementation, but local bodies are able to channel investment for cycling and walking from a range of areas.

I welcome the contributions from hon. Members during our all too brief debate. I welcome the ideas proposed. As I stated at the outset, the Government are committed to increasing cycling and walking and to making our roads safer for vulnerable users such as cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. As we start to develop the next phase of the cycling and walking investment strategy, I welcome all ideas for how we can achieve our collective ambition. In my view, there is a cross-party, non-political, collective ambition to make cycling and walking the natural choice for short journeys, or as part of longer journeys, across the country.