On the 2nd of September 2013 Cambridge MP Julian Huppert presented the following motion to the House of Commons:
That this House welcomes the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s report ‘Get Britain Cycling’; endorses the target of 10 per cent of all journeys being by bike by 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050; and calls on the Government to show strong political leadership, including an annual Cycling Action Plan and sustained funding for cycling.
(Source House of Commons Agenda)
Julian Huppert spoke to introduce his motion and the debate which followed lasted for around four hours, with a an unusually large number of MPs taking part for a debate initiated under the Backbench Business Committee’s procedures.
Currently, only about 2% of trips are made by bike—a tiny fraction, well below the levels found in many countries. A huge range of short trips that could easily be walked or cycled are driven. That is why we set a long-term ambition to try to increase that from 2% to 10% by 2025 and to 25% by 2050. That is entirely do-able and still below what the Dutch, for example, manage to achieve.
If more people were to cycle and walk, we would all benefit. We would be healthier, saving huge amounts of money—billions of pounds—for the NHS. There would be less congestion on the roads, making travel times faster and more reliable for those who are in cars. There would be less pressure on city centre parking, helping people to get to the shops and keep the economy going. The economy would grow. Cycling already contributes about £3 billion to the UK economy, but it is not always seen as significant as that. We all win by promoting cycling and walking.
MPs approved the motion, and as none expressed an objection there was no need for a vote.
Minister Norman Baker was present to respond to the debate. He said Cambridge would be gridlocked if our City Council, County Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council hadn’t worked together to promote cycling, keeping car use flat as the city has grown.
In winding up the debate Julian Huppert said the Liberal Democrats will be adopting the Get Britain Cycling report and recommendations as part of their party manifesto and encouraged other parties to do the same.