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Ruth Kelly Urges West Midlands Towns to be Cycling Champions

22/01/2008 12:16

Department for Transport (West Midlands)

Ruth Kelly Urges West Midlands Towns to be Cycling Champions

Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly announced £140million for cycling yesterday. She is urging towns and cities across the West Midlands to join the cycling revolution and bid for the money on offer – either to become the next cycling demonstration town, or be the next local authority to offer Bikeability training to local children.

This ambitious new drive to boost cycling will create more opportunities for exercise as well as helping to tackle road congestion and improve air quality. It fulfils a commitment to increase investment in sustainable transport initiatives, outlined in the recent strategy document, ‘Towards a Sustainable Transport System’.

The money will be invested over the next three years and forms part of the Government’s forthcoming Obesity Strategy.

Authorities across the West Midlands could help get more people on their bikes by becoming new Cycling Demonstration Towns, or offering local children the chance to be cycle trained.

The national six-fold increase in funding will:

Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport said:

“This new money represents a great opportunity for the West Midlands to join the cycling revolution. By getting more people on their bikes, we can help tackle congestion and pollution, as well as helping promote health and fitness opportunities.

“Bikeability training and Cycling Demonstration Towns have proven a great success so far and I want to see more. I hope West Midlands authorities will take advantage of the funding I’ve announced today, so we see more local children trained and equipped to cycle safely and responsibly, and more West Midlands towns become centres of excellence in promoting cycling.”

The funding package will go to Cycling England, the body set up by Government to promote cycling, to continue their successful work.

Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England said:

“Cycling England has produced compelling evidence to show that increased and sustained levels of investment in cycling can make a substantial impact.

“We are delighted that the Government has acted and believe today’s announcement will make a real difference to the way we travel – to school, work and the station. The expansion of Bikeability training will give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride on today’s roads.

“The bicycle really does have a role in helping meet England’s transport challenges. It is now taking its place as a proper mode of transport.”

Notes to Editors

1. The full breakdown of funding over the next three years is:

2008/09 – £20million
2009/10 – £60million
2010/11 – £60million

Of the £140million total funding, £110million is new as Government funding for Cycling England is already £10million a year. The package includes a contribution from the Department of Health in recognition of cycling’s role in helping build the recommended levels of activity into people’s daily lives. This contribution will be targeted towards areas with high levels of obesity.

2. This programme of funding has been influenced by the very good value for money which cycling projects exhibit. The economic research Cycling England commissioned from consultants SQW is available on Cycling England’s website

3. The Cycling Demonstration Town programme costs £2.8m a year for 6 Cycling Demonstration Towns (Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster with Morecombe) to showcase best practice in promoting cycling for other areas to learn from.

4. Cycling England will be seeking bids for the new Cycle Demonstration Towns and City in spring 2008/9. Following a period of planning, the major investment will begin the following year.

5. The Bikeability scheme is a new training standard designed to provide children with the on-road skills they need to handle modern traffic conditions. It was launched in March 2007. See bikeability website

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Issued by GNN West Midlands – Colette Keane

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