Following budget announcements made by Chancellor George Osborne that potentially affect cycling schemes in Birmingham, a response has been made by Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability at Birmingham City Council:
“We are proud to have developed a coherent, long-term plan to deliver improved cycling infrastructure, and are even prouder that these plans are starting to become reality.
“But these latest budget cuts announced by central government are a U-turn that will put our efforts to deliver sustainable integrated transport at serious risk.
“This is another round of unfair and poorly-planned cuts that will do nothing to improve the daily issues that everyone faces when trying to get around the city, be it on bike, by foot, by car or any other mode of transport.
“It also sends out a message that those in charge of funding for sustainable transport at a national level have no regard for the wider social benefits of cycling – improved health and wellbeing as well as giving people access to a form of transport that might be the difference between them being able to work or not.
“Additionally this will set back efforts to improve air quality, something the Government recently lost a court challenge on, so makes little sense as they shape a new strategy to meet emissions targets. It also comprimises our efforts to make cycling safer on public highways.
“Through the first phase of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution, we topped up the Government funding with council funds, in phase two we have secured money via the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, again topped up by the council, and the money announced by the Government in March is also being topped up by the council.
“The money we have pledged and the money obtained from the LEP will continue to be invested in cycling as a demonstration of our commitment to delivering the facilities needed in the city.
“Our immediate priority now is to look closely at the specific implications of this announcement and make the strongest representations possible to protect every penny promised by the Government to Birmingham.”