Tuesday 30 May 2017

Manifesto manifesto! - General Election cycling pledges

With just over a week to go, all the political parties have managed to rustle together a manifesto, despite having to give a knee jerk response to Theresa May's calling of a snap general election, and a suspension of campaigning following the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

I have had a look at the different manifestos to see what the different parties have pledged when it comes to cycling.

Here are the policies from the different parties:

Conservative Party

In their section on Investing in Transport they say:

We will continue to support local authorities to expand cycle networks and upgrade facilities for cyclists at railway stations. 

Later in the section on Children and families they talk about sports, though it's not clear if cycling would be included as a sport! They say:

We shall continue to support school sport, delivering on our commitment to double support for sports in primary schools.

Labour Party

In the transport section they say:

We will invite the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network. We reaffirm the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. 

I checked in their section on Sport and nothing on cycling is mentioned, and in fact for the sport section just talks about football!

Liberal Democrats

Under the Investing in Transport Section they say:

Design towns and cities as safe and attractive walking spaces and implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report. 

Later in the manifesto, in the Access to Culture and Sport section no mention is specifically gave to cycling, but I assume that this will be also included in sports policy.

Protect sports and arts funding via the National Lottery. 

The Green Party

Under the section called A People's Transport System they say:

Clean, safe, accessible public transport and more walking and cycling could make us all healthier and happier. We need a public transport system that takes us where we need to go, affordably and reliably. It should be easy to choose to leave the car at home - or not have one at all. 

Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling, including safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter. 

Neither the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) not the Scottish National Party (SNP) had mentioned any pledges towards cycling or cycling infrastructure in their manifestos. The Welsh Party, Plaid Cymru did not have a manifesto available on-line at the time that I looked.

It is a step in the right direction that the major political parties do recognise the need to invest in cycling, at least as part of transport policy. Unsurprisingly, the Green Party leads the way in terms of its pledges. Sadly, some of the smaller parties like UKIP, the SNPs and Plaid Cymru  don't mention it at all.  

Spending on cycling infrastructure is governed mainly at local government level, so is therefore the responsibility of the council. But in order for the council to invest, they need the funds, most of which will come from Central Government. Furthermore, local government policy tends to mirror the overall strategy set out by the Department of Transport. So in essence, it is important that cycle policy is mentioned in political party manifestos, at least so that we know that tomorrow's politicians will keep cycling policy at the front end of their minds.

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