Dawn Primarolo MP's response to constituents regarding Cycling and Walking in the Infrastructure Bill:
"Thank you for contacting me in support of proposed amendments to the Government’s Infrastructure Bill which would introduce a dedicated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
I agree that more needs to be done to increase levels of cycling and walking and believe that a long-term approach, which ensures additional focus and reliable funding, is required to further promote and encourage cycling and walking.
I have been disappointed with the current Government’s stop-start approach to cycling. It has taken four years to produce a Cycling Delivery Plan that includes a number of funding opportunities and ‘aspirations’ but little in the way of firm commitments.
The Government also failed to support an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that was tabled in the House of Lords and called for the introduction of a dedicated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. During the course of the debate on this Bill it has become clear that although Ministers support long-term funding certainty for the roads construction sector, they do not consider it necessary for local investments in cycling and walking.
I therefore welcome the fact that Labour’s Shadow Frontbench Transport Team have now tabled a further amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that would require the Government to publish a strategy which establishes a long-term commitment and funding to increase rates of walking and cycling, including in the planning of infrastructure projects. Sadly the Government has refused to support the amendment but my Labour colleagues, along with organisations such as CPRE, Sustrans and the Campaign for Better Transport, will continue to press for this as the Infrastructure Bill progresses through Parliament.
I also believe there is a strong case to consider wider steps to encourage cycling and walking, including restoring national targets to cut deaths and injuries on our roads, devolving funding to local authorities to deliver integrated transport systems, introducing cycle safety assessments for all transport schemes and ensuring children are trained in cycle and road safety from a young age. As you may know, the Labour Government in Wales has also recently introduced the Active Travel (Wales) Act, which legislates to create a 'safe cycle' network in Wales. I believe we need to learn from this and explore whether such a network can be extended to England.
Thank you once again for writing to me and sharing your views. I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely as the Infrastructure Bill continues its passage through Parliament.
Labour MP for Bristol South"