A National Audit Office (NAO) report released today (7th June) reveals that the Government is not on track to meet its objectives to get more people cycling, wheeling and walking, also putting at risk its statutory net zero targets. The report states that the Government’s progress to date suggests it will not meet its targets of 46% of urban journeys being walked, wheeled or cycled by 2025, or of doubling urban cycling journeys to 1.6m stages by 2025.
After the recent cuts to active travel investment, spending on active travel is now approximately £1 per head per year outside London, compared with £19 in Wales and an expected £50 in Scotland, and there is no meaningful support for e-bike and e-cargo bike uptake, the game-changing technology which has driven cycling growth in other countries around the world.
Last month, France announced a €2 billion investment to 2027 to boost bicycle usage, including a €500 million allocation towards subsidies to buy bicycles, e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. Earlier this year, following new EU legislation, Portugal cut VAT on bicycle, e-bike and e-cargo bike purchases from 23% to 6%, as part of its bid to boost cycling to 10% of all trips by 2030. As part of its Declaration on Cycling, the European Commission plans to make 2024 a ‘Year of Cycling’.
Steve Garidis, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association (BA), said: “Sustained, long-term investment in cycling – including support to grow the cycling industry as a strategic transport industry – is the only viable way to achieve the Government’s statutory targets.
The cycling industry is standing by, ready to work with Government to accelerate decarbonisation, deliver green jobs and open up access to mobility. We call on the Government to follow Europe’s lead in championing cycling’s strategic role in transport policy, and our forthcoming industry growth plan will set out a roadmap for industry-Government collaboration to achieve this.”
The Bicycle Association’s Market Data Service, which collates official industry sales statistics, showed that in 2022, sales of e-bikes in the UK actually fell by 3.1%, to 155,000 units, representing just 7.5% of all bike sales. This is in stark contrast to comparable markets such as France, where government measures, including national purchase subsidies, have created rapid uptake of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes as low carbon, low cost transport alternatives. In 2022, sales of e-bikes in France grew by 12% to 738,000 units.
Elizabeth Elford, [email protected]
NOTES FOR EDITORS
About the Bicycle Association
The Bicycle Association (BA) is the national trade association for the UK cycle industry. It represents the best interests of the UK cycle industry to government, stakeholders and the general public. The BA’s purpose is to grow the UK cycling industry, increase everyday cycling and remove barriers to cycling for everyone. www.bicycleassociation.org.uk