In an open letter, the UK Prime Minister has been urged to reverse proposed cuts to active travel funding, warning that it will make it difficult for the country to meet net zero targets and goals for walking and cycling by 2030.
In an open letter to the UK Prime Minister, a coalition of charities, professional organisations and businesses, representing millions of citizens, has urged a reversal of the proposed cuts to active travel funding announced by Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, on 9 March 2023.
According to Sustrans, the announcement sees the government backtrack on the level of investment that had been promised and that is imperative to deliver on its own statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS2).
The letter confirms that the significant cuts – which include a two-thirds reduction to promised capital investment in walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure – will make it difficult for the government to meet its 2050 net zero target and its goal for 50% of all journeys in English towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030.
The coalition, which includes members of the Walking and Cycling Alliance, alongside a further 28 organisations and over 118 cycle training providers, has joined together to express its deep concern at the wiping away of vital funds.
Research by Sustrans estimates that active travel has contributed a total of £36.5 billion to the UK economy in 2021, saved 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by taking 14.6 million cars off of the road and prevented 138,000 serious long-term health conditions.
Xavier Brice, Chief Executive of Sustrans, said: “More than ever, people want and need support to walk, wheel or cycle and we know that these cuts will impact those that would have benefited most, limiting their choice to travel healthily, cheaply and emissions-free. In the current economic climate, this funding is more important than ever to help everyone access the things they need without having to rely on a car. That’s why we’re urging the government to maintain its commitment and reassure us that revenue funding will remain at the levels promised in July 2022’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.”