Lewes MP and Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker has said that “the coalition is the most pro-cycling government the country has ever had, and we are determined to go further”.
During a spirited debate in the Commons on Monday evening the local MP, who was responding to the debate on behalf of the government, received compliments from both sides of the House for fighting hard for cycling and it appears that Mr Baker’s campaign is having some success.
He backed up his view that the coalition is the most pro-cycling government ever by comparing the spending that the coalition has authorised on cycling to that of the previous Labour government.
Mr Baker told the House that between 2005 and 2010 Labour spent £140 million (£200million with match funding), whereas the coalition will be spending £278million(£375 with match funding) over its five year period.
Locally, cycle infrastructure has received a welcome boost over the last two years with Mr Baker opening the Firle/Beddingham A27 cycleway which received a £1million upgrade, the announcement of the Lewes/Kingston cycle path which the MP will be opening shortly and last month confirmation that the South Downs National Park will receive £5million to improve cycle infrastructure.
The MP said: “Monday’s debate showed the strength of support cycling has across all the political parties and as a keen cyclist myself it was excellent to be able to respond to the debate on behalf of the government. Cycling has never been higher on any government’s agenda and I am determined that it will stay that way.
“Locally we have had the announcement of the Lewes to Kingston cycle path which I will be delighted to open shortly and only last month my department confirmed that the South Downs National Park will benefit from £5million to boost cycling.
This is all good news, but we can and will continue to do more because cycling is good for the nation’s health and good for the environment.”