Cycling Embassy September Newsletter

A Leicester Safari

Leicester is one city where interesting things are going on largely under the radar, with a mayor who seems keen to take space away from cars - and even though it did not win one of the City Ambition grants, the council has pledged to implement many of the measures anyway. But is this making a difference on the ground? Leicester campaigners have invited the Embassy to come and have a look on our latest infrastructure safari - join us and Leicester Cycling campaign on Saturday October 12th to find out.

Consultation Watch

Consultations keep Embassy members busy throughout the year - we try and flag up poor and dangerous designs, while praising and encouraging the more ambitious plans. We've already responded in detail to Bristol's latest plans in collaboration with Bristol's cycling campaign but there are many more coming up (including in Cambridge, Liverpool and Tottenham). Where we can, Embassy Board members will draft a response to a major cycling-related consultation - but we rely on local knowledge where it's not our patch, and it's impossible if we don't hear about it before the consultation closes! Where there is a local cycling campaign, we hope to work with them to co-ordinate a response; having a national organisation backing up a local group can help in influencing the council. Even if there's no local campaign, having someone with local knowledge on the ground to help us draft a full response. If you know of a consultation in your area, then let us know (for instance by posting on the 'Consultation Watch' thread of the forum) and we'll try and help you respond. 

Get Britain Cycling ...but who's oiling the chain?

The beginning of September saw not just a huge cycling demonstration on the streets of London, but a surprisingly lucid and coherent debate in parliament on the Get Britain Cycling report, with MPs overwhelmingly voting to support the recommendations of the report. Not only that, but both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have voted to adopt similar policies at their recent party conferences. So it's all good? Unfortunately the vote in the Commons was not binding on the government - and the government's own response shows how little they understand what it will really take to get Britain cycling. We will be watching with interest to see what happens at the Tory party conference in Manchester (where the GMCC is organising another Space for Cycling ride on Monday 30th September) but we will keep the pressure on the current government until we get more than warm words and crumbs of funding for cycling

Getting Scotland and Wales Cycling instead?

There are signs of some improvements in other parts of Great Britain, at least. In Scotland, an extra £20 million over the next two years has been allocated to improving cycling infrastructure, which is a step in the right direction. This is particularly so in Wales, where the Active Travel Bill has shown a pioneering approach to giving Local Authorities a duty to provide safe routes. We were invited to attend the Welsh Government's launch event; our Treasurer, Geoff Rone, to reports on what is going on in Wales.

And an award...

Finally, congratulations to Embassy board member Sally Hinchcliffe who this year won the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Transport Campaigner award for her work on the Scottish Pedal on Parliament Campaign. Sally's award follows a win for Newcycling's Claire Prospert in the same category in 2010 showing that cycle campaigning, like cycling, isn't just a man's game any more - new and different voices are starting to be heard. We're always keen to hear from different perspectives about what makes cycling a practical mode of transport for everyone - so if you'd like to add your voice to the growing number of guest blog contributors then let us know.