The debate was preceded by an online forum, supported by the parliamentary outreach service, which managed to reach over 2.1 million Twitter accounts, and created a series of questions about how the Government’s ambition to support and promote cycling can be delivered.
MPs highlighted how, over the past five years, Government has invested more in cycling than any of their predecessors, through schemes such as cycling ambition grants and the local sustainable transport fund. A number of speakers praised local enterprise partnerships, local authorities and combined authorities for their pivotal role in promoting and enabling more people to cycle.
Members also stressed that Government must still do more. Chair of the Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, emphasised the benefit of cycling, stating that “active travel is the type of physical activity that people are most likely to sustain throughout their whole lives. We [parliament] should focus on that if we are really going to get Britain moving as well as cycling.”
David Rutley, MP for Macclesfield, paid tribute to the Government and former Sports Minister, Helen Grant MP, for paving the way towards making sure that outdoor recreation, of which recreational cycling is a very important part, is fully integrated into the new sport strategy, announced in December 2015.
In his response to contributions from the floor, the Minister for Transport, Robert Goodwill MP, outlined the Government’s vision “to create a walking and cycling nation, where cycling and walking become the norm for short journeys or as part of a longer journey… of streets and public places that support walking and cycling, and a road network where infrastructure for cycling and walking is always being improved.”
Details of the Government’s cycling and walking investment strategy (introduced through the Infrastructure Act 2015) are progressing, with a consultation expected in the Spring and final document to be published Summer 2016.
You can find the full and original transcript of the Westminster Hall debate via the parliamentary website.