Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford could be transformed into world-class places for cycling, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said today.
He has tasked Andrew Gilligan, former Cycling Commissioner for London, to work with local councils and local organisations to create a vision of what is required for cycling to become a “super attractive” mode of transport in these three cities.
Mr Gilligan will provide advice over the summer on how the existing infrastructure can be used better, and what more could be done to help local residents to get on their bikes. His appointment follows discussions with local authority leaders across the areas.
Cycling is already a popular mode of transport locally. Over a fifth of Cambridge residents commute by bike, the largest proportion in the country; and Oxford comes second nationally, with 19 per cent of commuters choosing to travel this way – yet both cities suffer from relatively limited infrastructure specifically designed for bikes.
In contrast, Milton Keynes already has an extensive network of cycle lanes but proportionally few people choose to cycle.
This new project will see what more can be done to deliver a step-change in cycling within the three cities, so even more people choose two wheels over four.
Andrew Gilligan will look at what can be delivered in these areas, as well as what funding and financing would be required if changes were to be made.
He will work with council leaders and other local organisations to help develop plans to improve the cycling experience, with the aim of making Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford models for others to follow – both here in the UK and abroad.
His findings will be published later this year.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said:
“Residents in Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford are already keen cyclists – but I’m convinced more can be done to make their commutes on two wheels easier and safer.
“Andrew Gilligan’s work in London has led to dedicated lanes, and the number of cyclists in the capital have doubled in the last decade.
“So I’m delighted that he will be advising how these three cities could be transformed into world-class places for cyclists, and places for other cities to learn from.”
Andrew Gilligan said:
“More people cycling benefits everyone, not just cyclists – reducing pressure on the road, bus and rail networks, and making the environment more pleasant.
“I’ll be working closely with councils and others in all three of these cities to bring that about.”
Local support for cycling initiative
The National Infrastructure Commission was established in 2015 to offer independent advice to Government on addressing the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.
A key part of the Commission’s work has been to examine how best to realise the full economic potential of the “Growth Corridor” of Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford.
An initial report, published in November 2016, warned that a lack of sufficient and suitable housing presents a fundamental risk to the future success of the area – but it also highlighted the need for improved transport connections to help support economic growth.
Further advice on this will be presented to Ministers later this year, which will also draw on the findings from Andrew Gilligan’s work.
His appointment has been welcomed by local council leaders.
James Palmer, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said:
“It is encouraging to see that the National Infrastructure Commission is looking to devote resources to investigate how cycling in the city can be developed. As an already established and popular mode of transport for Cambridge, the interest from the NIC demonstrates their desire to build on the progress that has been made and make cycling in Cambridge even better. I look forward to working with the NIC and partners in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on their vision.”
Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council and Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, the local economic partnership said:
“As the UK’s acknowledged ‘cycling city’ we are already investing over £20m in cycling routes currently to stay at the top, but working with our good friends in Oxford and Milton Keynes will make even more progress.”
Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council said:
“Cambridgeshire County Council has worked hard to obtain funding for lots of new cycling projects in recent years. Our objective is to get more people cycling by providing the right facilities and links. More people cycling means less congestion, boosts the economy and improves health. We welcome the opportunity to work with the National Infrastructure Commission and Andrew Gilligan.”
Leader of Milton Keynes Council, Cllr Pete Marland said:
“The future of transport infrastructure to and from Milton Keynes continues to grow for rail and road but it’s great to hear that cycling is also getting a welcome boost from the National Infrastructure Commission”
“MK’s unique redway network stretches over 340km right across the city but cycling is not the preferred transport choice compared to the other cities on the ‘brain belt corridor’
“I’m delighted that the NIC has appointed a special adviser to work alongside MK Council to really push cycling forward as a transport choice. The council has already embarked on a programme of redway repairs and improvements to encourage people to use them more”
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said:
“Oxfordshire County Council is investing millions of pounds on cycle route improvements and will continue to do so in future.
“Our Local Transport Plan is an ambitious 20 year strategy, which in Oxford includes cycle route improvements to provide safe and direct access to a range of destinations. Over the last few years the county council has also delivered a number of schemes that support more cycling including at Frideswide Square and The Plain roundabout.
“We are currently implementing a £12.5m package of improvements as part of the ‘Access to Headington’ project that will deliver new and improved cycle routes and priority as well as a number of innovative cycle features such as segregated ‘hybrid’ cycle lanes and cycle pre-signals. All of these improvements are designed to help people move around the county in a healthy way while supporting Oxfordshire’s thriving economy. We also have a programme of cycling projects across the county, including a £4.5m package of schemes in Science Vale.
“We welcome this news from the National Infrastructure Commission and look forward to sharing with Andrew how we are making cycling accessible to everyone in Oxfordshire, regardless of age, background or cycling experience.”
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said:
“Oxford is already a renowned cycling city, but we have aspirations to significantly increase the number of people commuting to work by bike.
“Our long-term aim is to replicate the success of our twinned city of Leiden, where 70 per cent of people commute by bike, and we are delighted that Andrew Gilligan will bring his expertise to Oxford to help make that happen through the ambitious programme that the NIC is considering.
“Cycling is one of the best ways to reduce congestion and pollution in Oxford – and it also helps people to stay fit and healthy.”
Notes to Editors:
An ideas competition is currently underway encouraging architects, planners, economists and local residents themselves to submit their views on the future of the Growth Corridor. The competition was launched 30 June 2017, with a deadline of 14:00 BST on 3 August 2017 for entries.