The need for a new cycle network has been recognised by the Conservative administration at Suffolk County Council, who today agreed to a motion proposed by the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group to develop a strategic costed cycling plan.
However, they subsequently made a mockery of this decision by refusing to commit any funding to cycling infrastructure.
Green Councillor Robert Lindsay put two motions forward to the Council today. The first asked for a strategic, costed five-year cycling plan to be drawn up, whilst the second asked for a commitment of 5% of the annual Integrated Transport Block (the equivalent of £160,000) to be spent on cycling infrastructure. Both motions are vital: without a minimal commitment of funding, it will be impossible to implement a cycling plan.
In response to the Conservatives’ voting decisions today, Cllr Lindsay commented:
“I’m obviously very disappointed with the way the Conservatives voted today. It makes absolutely no sense to agree to draw up a costed cycling plan, and then refuse to commit any funding to it.
That is the reason Suffolk County Council’s funding bids always fail – the DfT simply don’t believe that we are truly committed to improving cycling in Suffolk.
Other Conservative councils have understood the need to commit funding – Cheshire East just promised 8.5% of their budget to cycling. It is high time Suffolk Conservatives put their money where their mouth is. Just saying you support cycling is simply not good enough.”
Since 2011, Suffolk and Ipswich were eligible for six sustainable travel grants from the Department for Transport, yet did not win a single one of these. By failing to commit a minimal amount of funding, it is likely that any future bids for funding will likewise fail.