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CWIS

April 2017

Cycling signs at York Place, Harrogate

The government published its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England in April 2017. The front pages states, 'We want to make cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey'.

The CWIS (sometimes prounounced cee-whizz) document is split into three sections - the strategy, the financial resources, and the action plan.

CWIS: the strategy

In the foreword, Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport) and Andrew Jones (Minister in the Department for Transport with responsibility for cycling) say, 'For too long, some have seen cycling as a niche activity, rather than a normal activity for all. If we can increase levels of walking and cycling, the benefits are substantial. For people, it means cheaper travel and better health. For businesses, it means increased productivity and increased footfall in shops. And for society as a whole it means lower congestion, better air quality, and vibrant, attractive places and communities.'

The 'aim' is to double cycling activity by 2025, and reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured on England's roads each year.

The approach is to ask local authorities to prepare Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans.

Mr Grayling and Mr Jones hope we can transform attitudes to cycling and walking to the extent that England will be '...a global-leader and inspiration around the world.' Since England has so much to do to catch up with existing cycling nations, it may not be the right time to consider if we can be a template for others.

The strategy section recognises that realising the ambition for cycling and walking to become the natural choice for short journeys will need sustained investment, long-term transport planning, and a change in attitudes. 'Walking and cycling should be seen as transport modes in their own right and an integral part of the transport network, rather than as niche interests or town-planning afterthoughts'.

The strategy states this ambition for 2040:

CWIS 2040 ambition

As well as the 2040 'ambition', there's a 2020 'objective'. It is to increase cycling and walking activity, including an 'aim' or 'target' to double cycling from 2013 to 2025. As it is 2017 and the 'objective' is to increase cycling by 2020, it would seem more logical to take 2017-2020 as the relevant period for the aim or target. One reason for choosing 2013 to 2025 could be that it is a longer time and might make achieving the target easier.

This diagram shows the opportunities for changing modes of travel to more walking or cycling:

Opportunities for more walking and cycling - diagram

CWIS: finances

The financial resources will come from a variety of sources including DfT cycling and walking specific programmes. Those include Bikeability, Cycling Ambition Cities, Highways England, and Access Fund programmes. There are also DfT local transport funds, such as the Local Growth Fund, Highways Maintenance Block, and Integrated Transport Block. Some businesses contribute funds locally.

The CWIS document contains an estimate of direct government funding over the next 5 years, coming in a little under £300 million per year for the first two years, £254 million in the third year, then dropping dramatically to £203 million and £147 million in the final two years.

Estimated government funding under CWIS

There's to be an Expert Committee to advise on delivering the CWIS.

CWIS: action plan

This section, begins by listing 'recent achievements' going back to 2011!

Actual action includes helping local bodies produce Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans. These plans are not compulsory, but can be produced by local authorities, or other local bodies like LEPs, and there's technical support from the DfT for those which want to develop them.

The document mentions a large number of existing and future DfT programmes which have some relevance to walking and cycling.

CWIS: reaction

On behalf of British Cycling, Chris Boardman welcomed the publication of the first UK CWIS. He called it 'a watershed moment for active travel in this country.' However, he doubted that the current level of funding would achieve a doubling in cycling journeys, and called for 5% of transport funding to be allocated to cycling.

Cycling UK also welcomed 'the vision' set out by CWIS, and was pleased to receive £1 million for its Big Bike Revival programme. Policy director Roger Geffen said that the hard work now begins - strengthening the strategy over time, and supporting councils to make the best use of the funds.

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Station Parade taxi rank, HarrogateChris BoardmanStation Parade, Harrogate

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