The future of Britain’s transport? More roads

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New Goverment paper sets out the Coalition’s stall for transport development; cycling and walking not mentioned even once.

It’s official: cycling and walking aren’t recognised as viable modes of transport by the current UK Government.

That’s the only possible conclusion from the HM Treasury paper Investing in Britain’s Future, presented at Parliament today by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. Alexander says that the coalition is the “greenest government ever” but there’s little to demonstrate that in the paper.


The Treasury’s plan is concerned mainly with private motor transport, with £28bn allocated to road improvements, and there’s no mention of the £1bn promised earlier in the year to establish an Office for Active Travel.

In fact active travel, in the sense of walking and cycling, can take a hike, it would seem. There are many pages – and a detailed appendix – on what needs to happen to the roads, and which schemes will be green-lighted.

Rail gets a section, although by ‘rail’ we mostly mean ‘High Speed 2 and Crossrail’ which will suck up the lion’s share of the funding. The ‘funding envelope’ for HS2 now stands at over £42bn.

Cycling, no pages

Cycling and walking don’t have any pages though. They’re not mentioned. Not even once. There’s no strategy for increasing modal share for other transport options for journeys into and across cities – even though the paper’s own congestion graphs show that’s the primary issue – and no commitment to include cycling and walking when roads are built or redeveloped.

The environment is given a paragraph by the “greenest government ever”.

“Reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions is at the heart of Government’s vision for transport, and is a key component of sustainable economic growth,” says the paper.

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