Walking and cycling charity Sustrans has launched a campaign demanding to reinstate the UK Government’s £308 million Active Travel budget.
In March, the Government announced a two-thirds cut to investment in infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling. This reduced the promised budget from £308 million to £100 million for the next two years.
The charity is gathering signatures for an open letter to Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, calling for the Government to re-evaluate the decision before it is too late.
Arthur Girling, Head of Public Affairs at Sustrans, told Zag Daily: “These funding cuts will seriously undercut efforts to improve the way we get around.
“Dedicated capital funding for active travel infrastructure makes up just 0.08% of the total 2023/24 transport budget for England. Stepping up ambition will be essential if we’re going to cut carbon emissions from transport.”
Sustrans says the cut will make it “impossible” for the UK Government to achieve its target of 50% of all journeys being walked or cycled by 2030, and to be Net Zero by 2050.
“These cuts will see fewer schemes to make roads safe, less accessible pavements and crossings, and fewer new cycle routes,” said the letter. “It will take far longer to address barriers preventing people from walking and wheeling.”
Sustrans research has found that people walking, wheeling and cycling took 14.6 million cars off the road in 2021, saving 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. In the same year, active travel contributed £36.5 billion to the UK economy.