one more on the Thatcher government and cycling

meant to bank these two from Hansard for future reference, too. Statements on what central government wanted local authorities to spend money on for cycling in the early ’80s — that is, “better and safer routes”. From 10 Feb 1982:

Mr Jack Dormand (Easington)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what priorities he is giving to the various policies on cycling set out in his statement of 26 January.

Mr Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe)
The statement describes a range of measures to improve conditions for cyclists. All are important, but we shall give particular priority to encouraging the provision of better and safer routes.

and 14 July 1982:

Mr Jack Dormand (Easington)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what priorities he is now giving to the various policies on cycling set out in his statement of 26 January.

Mrs Lynda Chalker (Wallasey)
Our top priority is to encourage the provision of better and safer routes and to make cycling safer on all roads through training, improved standards for new bicycles, and promoting wider awareness of cyclists’ problems and needs.

followed by 3 Dec 1984

Mr Jack Dormand (Easington)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what further proposals he has for increasing the number of cycleways in inner cities.

Mrs Lynda Chalker (Wallasey)
We continue to encourage local highway authorities to make appropriate safe cycling provision in inner city areas as elsewhere. Whether to provide individual cycleways or other arrangements is generally a matter for the local authorities concerned with, and knowledgeable about, the local area.

Mr Jack Dormand (Easington)
That was a rather disappointing answer. Does the Minister agree that the provision of cycleways should be a high priority because of their benefits, not only to cyclists, but to other traffic? Although I recognise that some local authorities have done splendid work, does the Minister not accept that there has been a decline in interest in providing cycleways? Will the hon. Lady expand a little more on what the Government are doing? In particular, what are the regional cycling officers doing to stir up more enthusiasm among inner city authorities?

Mrs Lynda Chalker (Wallasey)
I continue to give high priority to the provision of specialist cycleways where possible. I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman that there has been a decline in interest. In every transport policy and programme invitation we have, through the guidelines, reiterated our willingness to support the programmes that come forward. We have done so wherever we have been able to. The hon. Gentleman well knows that the Canterbury scheme, and the Stockton scheme in his area, towards which the Department is paying a large amount, are progressing well. The regional cycling officers are as active as ever and are encouraging the local authorities to bring schemes forward.

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