Tom Brake MP to chair local cycling inquiry

February 10, 2009 9:54 AM

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, is chairing a roundtable discussion in London today (9 February) as part of a national inquiry into boosting cycling rates.

The event is the first in a series of roundtable discussions taking place across England this month.

The inquiry, Active Communities: Cycling to a better quality of life, was launched in December with a call for local authority chief executives and leaders to submit evidence to include their own ideas for encouraging more people to cycle.

More than 30 organisations, including local authorities, their partners and local cycle groups, responded to the call for evidence. The next stage of the inquiry involves roundtables with key players from local partnerships, particularly those from cycling demonstration towns.

While the inquiry does not have a remit to increase cycling rates in London, the capital is a convenient location for the first roundtable and offers good examples of successful cycling initiatives.

Tom Brake MP, who is a keen cyclist and who got to work on Monday during the snow on his mountain bike commented: "The bike is really versatile. It's a great, cheap, and healthy way to get around. I hope this inquiry will find new and exciting ways of getting people on their bikes."

Gemma Roberts, a policy analyst at LGiU's Centre for Local Sustainability, said: "The response to the inquiry so far shows that cycling is an excellent way to make our communities more sustainable. In the next stage of the inquiry, we will explore some of the changes we need to see to make cycling the easy option for everyone to enjoy. "

The findings will be published alongside recommendations in a report next month which will be used by Cycling England to champion best practice.

Cycling England partnered with the LGiU in September last year to help them identify the changes that could make local authorities more effective in raising the profile of cycling and to iron out any obstacles to change.

The LGiU will help to bring a broader context to the debate by looking at how cycling relates to other sustainability issues such as obesity and climate change.

The inquiry will also aim to establish how local authorities could improve local infrastructure and provide more cycle training for people to make cycling a genuine transport option.

The partnership will also help England's 18 cycling demonstration areas to become cycle friendly. In June last year, Cycling England announced the final 11 of the demonstration areas, including York, Blackpool, Colchester and Shrewsbury, and it also named Bristol as England's first "cycling city" as part of a £100m Government scheme to encourage cycling.

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