Did you hear that? That was the sound of a couple more drops into a bucket. Worse, there’s a hole in it.
The UK’s deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg announced in Bristol today that the equivalent of less than 1% of the Highways Agency budget; or 7 miles of new motorway; or 1 mile of the 73 mile CrossRail project; will be split between the Highways Agency and the same 8 cities in the UK, who already receive funding, so that they can continue their slow progression of making their road networks fit for humans.
And it is slow progress: some of the campaigners in those 8 cities have expressed concern over how the existing money has been spent already (or not!).
Moreover, the £214m announced today is spread over the next 3 years.
Oddly, the government says that brings the total spent by the government to £588m.
My maths find a different result: £437.6m, as stated on 6 November by the minister, plus £214m announced today, equals £651.6m.
What’s a £63.6m difference, eh? You couldn’t even get a pint of bitter in a London pub for that!
A growing number of people, including me, no longer pat the government on the back for these condescending amounts announced from time-to-time.
The money would be spent to make roads fit for humans: they must urgently be brought up to a Dutch standard. Doing that will fulfill the Get Britain Cycling inquiry’s target of getting 25% of people cycling, sooner rather than later.
Sometimes campaigning is soft: asking for Space for Cycling.
The radical approach is way more interesting, and certainly gets a whole lot more coverage in the media, plus it grabs the attention of the public who may not know that if the UK became a cycling nation like the Netherlands or Denmark it could:
- save the NHS £17 billion within 20 years
- reduce road deaths by 30%
- increase mobility of the nation’s poorest families by 25%
- increase retail sales by a quarter
THERE’S A HOLE IN MY BUCKET
The government in The Netherlands spends roughly €26 (£21) per person per year on cycling – with the money coming from more than just the transport department.
The Get Britain Cycling inquiry recommended that the government spend £10, rising to £20, per person per year on cycling.
Right now, though, the UK Government spends £1.37 per person per year on cycling – and it is all coming from the Department for Transport:
- £437.6m over the past 5 years; divided by
- 64.1m people living in the UK (mid-2013 estimate); equals,
- £1.37 per person per year on average.
The surprising thing is, that with today’s announced funding, spending per person actually DECREASES:
- £437.6m over the past 5 years; plus
- £214m over the next 3 years; equals
- £651.6m over 8 years; which means,
- £1.27 per person per year on average (£651.6 divided by 8 years divided by 64.1m population)
That’s worth repeating: we go from £1.37 per person per year to £1.27 per person per year! And that assumes there is no change in the population!
What this country needs is a flood of investment.
- The Times: Cyclists will get £200m boost to improve safety on the roads
- Road.cc: Campaigners slam councils for delays and misuse of cycling funding
- Guardian: Chris Boardman – We have ‘a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ for a cycling revolution
- BikeBiz: New money for cycling in England, pledges deputy prime minister
- Cycling Embassy of Great Britain: Embassy response to Deputy Prime Minister’s Cycle Funding Announcement
- British Cycling: Benefits of Investing in Cycling
- Get Britain Cycling
- Space for Cycling
- Stop The Killing / Stop Killing Cyclists: The National Funeral for the Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence
1 December 2014 – Statement by Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative):
The Department has recently consulted on future funding for cycling via the draft Cycling Delivery Plan. The consultation closed on 27 November 2014 and I will be in a position to provide a fuller answer to this once this consultation process has been completed and the final Cycling Delivery Plan has been published.