Commitment to Cycling

Cherry Allan's picture

National planning policies

Planning policies and decisions can make all the difference to how people choose to make their journeys - i.e. whether to drive or to travel more sustainably by cycle or on foot.
Cycling through a new development
Headline Messages: 
  • Planning policies can help reduce people’s dependency on their cars for work, shopping, leisure and other trips. They can do this both by focusing developments in places that can be easily reached by sustainable transport choices (e.g. in town centres rather than out-of-town locations), and by including good cycling provision in and around the development.
  • Good planning policies are vital to wider economic, environmental and health objectives. They should explicitly state that built and rural environments need to: promote and cater well for walking and cycling to help boost active, healthy travel and recreation; reduce car-dependency and motor traffic volume; and make places attractive to live in and visit.
Key facts: 
  • One of the 12 core principles of England’s National Planning Framework (NPPF) states that planning should: “actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development in locations which are or can be made sustainable.” (NPPF Section 17)
  • Just 2% of trips in the UK are made by cycle, compared to 10% in Germany, 18% in Denmark and 27% in the Netherlands. In these three countries, planning policies covering the use of land and the layout of urban areas make an important contribution to such high levels of cycling.
  • NICE (The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommends that local authorities “Ensure planning applications for new developments always prioritise the need for people to be physically active as a routine part of their daily life.”
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

The role of the planning system

  • Planning policies locally and nationally make a significant impact on travel patterns and travel choice. They need to complement and support transport policy and programmes to promote cycling and other healthy and sustainable options. They should include policies on:
    • Locating development where it can be easily reached by walking, cycling and public transport;
    • Supporting pedestrian and cyclist-friendly urban transport strategies;
    • Providing good cycle access to and within new developments;
    • Ensuring the provision of cycle parking and other ‘trip end’ facilities (e.g. lockers and showers for employees etc.);
    • Adopting, implementing and monitoring travel plans as appropriate to the developments;
    • Securing appropriate developer contributions towards improved cycle provision in the surrounding area;
    • Requiring high standard design for the public realm to create an environment that is inviting for pedestrians and cyclists;
    • Considering the impact that planning decisions may have on recreational and utility cycling, particularly for long distance routes, local green spaces, the rights of way network, canals and riversides, disused railway lines and other transport corridors, national trails, national parks and forests, AONBs and other areas that provide valued opportunities for outdoor activity and recreation;
    • Ensuring that plans for the built environment contribute to improvements in public health.
  • National guidance should recognise that the historic association of economic growth with the growth of motor traffic is inherently unsustainable. It should therefore state unambiguously that planning decisions should reduce the need to travel by private car; and that sustainable, healthy modes offer economic and other benefits in their own right.

Making the planning system work locally

  • The Government should preserve and strengthen the ability of local communities to benefit fully from ‘planning gain’ (developer contributions), which is regularly used to provide for sustainable transport (e.g. high quality cycle routes to and in the vicinity of new developments).
  • Local authorities should set out policies in their development plans that resist development projects that would increase car dependent travel patterns and/or enable them to secure developer contributions for measures that benefit cycling.
  • Local authorities should always adopt a travel plan as part of a wider planning agreement for developments; and they should ensure that they are implemented and well monitored.

Monitoring and accountability

  • The Government should introduce ways to measure the specific carbon impacts of individual developments as part of the Transport Assessment process, and aggregate these so that the public can assess the overall impact of planning policies and decisions, both locally and nationally. It should be possible to dismiss plans on carbon grounds in the interests of achieving the legal limits set out in the Climate Change Act, and incentivise planners to ensure that low-carbon travel is properly accommodated.
  • Representatives of relevant NGOs and local communities should always enjoy meaningful input into planning decisions and the policies and strategies that inform them. Consultation on planning applications for all proposals, major and minor, should be supported by clear information, transparency, regulations and guidance. Communities should also be granted a limited third party right of appeal against planning permissions to which they object.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
February 2015
Roger Geffen's picture

CTC urges action on cycle safety as casualty rates rise

New figures show that cyclist casualty numbers, particularly serious cyclist casualties, are still rising more steeply than cycle use.
Cyclist outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Today's Government figures show a worsening of road safety in Britain for all road users, but with cyclists faring particularly badly.

They compare road casualties during the third quarter of 2014 with the same period the previous year, as well as providing whole-year comparisons of the year to September 2014 with the previous one-year period.


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Roger Geffen's picture

Go-ahead for London's Cycle Superhighways "A game-changer for cycling", says CTC

CTC, the national cycling charity, says the green light given today (4th February) for two central London Cycle Superhighways is “a game-changer for cycling”.
Image of the iconic Embankment section of the east-west  Cycle Superhighway

The decision, taken this morning by the Board of Transport for London (TfL), means work will begin next month on the east-west and north-south Superhighway routes, dubbed “Crossrail for Bikes”.  The north-south route runs from Kings Cross to Elephant & Castle, while the iconic east-west route runs from Tower Bridge to Paddington via the Embankment, Parliament Square and Hyde Park, continuing westward to Acton via a new cycle

Contact Information: 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

Notes to Editors: 

1. Transport for London consulted on the two Cycle Superhighway schemes between 3rd September and 9th November 2014.  See CTC’s consultation response.

2. CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. For more information see

Cherry Allan's picture

Cycling and local transport

To maximise cycling's benefits for local communities, councils should give it a central role in their transport plans and link it strongly with other policies and strategies...
Cycling in town
Headline Messages: 
  • Cycling is healthy and environmentally-friendly. It also offers mobility for people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities; helps create safer and more pleasant streets; and provides economic benefits and cost-savings for individuals, employers and councils.
  • Cycling deserves a central place in local authority transport policies, spending plans and wider strategies to promote active and sustainable travel. The returns of investing in it are impressive.
  • Many councils recognise the benefits of cycling and work with local partners to maximise them.
Key facts: 
  • In the Netherlands, where 43% of the population cycles daily, around £24 goes on cycling per person, per year. In England (outside London), where only around 4% of the population cycle every day, it’s under £2 per head;
  • £10,000 invested in cycling only needs to generate just ONE extra cyclist over 30 years for the monetised benefits to equal the costs;
  • The eight cities and four national parks awarded Cycle City Ambition Grants in 2013 are expected to deliver around £5 of benefits for each pound invested;
  • Doubling cycle use would probably result in only a 25-30% increase in cycle fatalities, representing a 35-40% reduction in risk per cyclist;
  • With a funding boost and infrastructure changes, cycling can grow quickly from a very low base: from 2007 to 2011, commuter cycling more than doubled in New York; and Seville saw the proportion of cycling journeys jump from 0.2% to 6.6% in under 6 years.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

Local authorities should:

  • Commit to cycling by: fully recognising its environmental, health and other benefits; linking cycling with the wider aims of local transport and other policies, especially by aiming for more as well as safer cycling and tackling the deterrents (e.g. speeding, bad driving, hostile road conditions and lorries); linking cycling plans with other strategies/policies (e.g. planning, health, education and the economy); and forging partnerships with other local partners in health, education, business public transport, the police and voluntary sector groups.
  • Make the physical environment cycle-friendly by: ensuring that developments are accessible and permeable by cycle; that highways are engineered, laid out, signed and maintained with cycle users in mind; and enhancing provision for recreational and off-road cycling.
  • Promote cycling by: making national standards cycle training (Bikeability) available to people of all ages; supporting school and workplace travel plans and incentives; and encouraging cycling with promotional materials, campaigns and personal advice.
  • Resource their commitment to cycling well by: raising and investing capital, revenue and staff resources, training staff appropriately and harnessing the support of the voluntary sector.
  • Evaluate and monitor the results effectively by: setting substantial targets to increase cycle use; measuring cycle casualties per mile or per trip; monitoring how safe people think cycling is; identifying suitable data collection and reporting mechanisms; and seeking feedback from key partners, including local communities and the voluntary sector. 
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
December 2014
Cherry Allan's picture

Cycling and the economy

Cycling contributes more than many people think to local and national economies...
Cycling in town
Headline Messages: 
  • Our excessive dependence on motorised road transport imposes significant economic costs on society. These include: congestion; road casualties; physical inactivity and the ill health caused by it (e.g. obesity); pollution (and the associated damage to buildings, ecosystems, agriculture and health); as well as the geopolitical costs of maintaining fossil fuel supplies in an increasingly unstable global environment.
  • Cycling could substantially reduce these risks, while strengthening local economies in both urban and rural areas; supporting local businesses and property values; boosting the economic productivity of a healthy and satisfied workforce; and enabling disadvantaged groups to gain skills and access employment opportunities.
  • Local and national government, businesses and economic regeneration partnerships are therefore well advised to invest more heavily in promoting cycling; whilst the tax system should offer greater support.
Key facts: 
  • If cycle use increases from less than 2% of all journeys (current levels) to 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050, the cumulative benefits would be worth £248bn between 2015 and 2050 for England - yielding annual benefits in 2050 worth £42bn in today’s money.
  • Obesity is a risk factor associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 2014, CVD alone cost the UK over £15bn - 1.4% of the country’s GDP. By 2020, the cost is expected to rise to £18.5 billion. In 2009, production losses due to mortality and morbidity associated with CVD cost the UK over £6bn, with around 21% of this due to death and 13% due to illness in those of working age.
  • Occasional, regular and frequent cyclists contributed a ‘gross cycling product’ of c£3bn to the British economy in 2010. Around 3.6 million cycles (‘units’) are sold in GB each year.
  • The average economic benefit-to-cost ratio of investing in cycling & walking schemes is 13:1
  • In 2010, around 23,000 people were employed directly in bicycle sales, distribution and the maintenance of cycling infrastructure. They generated £500m in wages and £100m in taxes.
  • On average, cycle commuting employees take one less sick day p.a. than non-cyclists and save the UK economy almost £83m.
  • Although cyclists may spend less than car-borne shoppers per trip, their total expenditure is on average greater because they tend to visit the shops more often.
  • On 9th Avenue (Manhattan), where a high quality cycle lane was rebuilt in late 2008, retail sales increased by up to 49%, compared to 3% borough-wide.
  • Together, mountain biking and leisure cycle tourism contribute between £236.2m and £358m p.a. to the Scottish economy, with a cumulative gross value added of £129m.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • The economic benefits of investing in small scale projects that typically benefit cycling are often underestimated. On the other hand, car-dependence is a significant cost for society and large scale transport projects (e.g. roads) are not the value-for-money they are often thought to be.
  • Cycling makes a positive contribution to the national economy and it is a cost-effective investment. It can help:
    • Reduce congestion;
    • Improve public health and save NHS money;
    • Create jobs;
    • Save employers money and improve productivity;
    • Inject money directly into the economy via the cycle trade;
    • Boost the vitality of town centres;
    • Deliver goods efficiently;
    • Lift house prices.
  • The Treasury should incentivise cycling through:
    • Adhering to the principle that 'the polluter pays' as the basis of taxation of transport users;
    • Maintaining a tax-free mileage rate that makes cycling on business financially worthwhile;
    • Supporting cycle commuting schemes that save businesses and employees tax (e.g. the ‘salary sacrifice’ Cycle to Work scheme);
    • Reducing VAT on cycle repairs;
    • Working with the European Union on changes to the VAT Directive that would encourage cycling (e.g. zero-rating cycles);
    • Maintaining its policy of not taxing cycles for the use of the roads.
  • Both national and local authorities should dedicate sufficient resources to smarter choices, recognising that they rely on revenue rather than capital funding.
  • Economics-focused bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), regeneration agencies, developers and retailers should recognise the value of cycling and take action to promote and encourage it.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
January 2014
Roger Geffen's picture

Research shows growth in cycling could be worth £¼ trillion

New research commissioned by CTC shows that cycling could provide economic benefits worth £248bn between now and 2050 if England meets the targets for increased cycle use as proposed in the parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report.
The benefits of increased cycling could be worth £248bn between now and 2050

The research – see summary leaflet – has been released as MPs prepare to debate calls for a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) to be included in the Infrastructure Bill.  An amendment to the Bill has been tabled by a cross-party group of MPs, and is supported by a coa


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SamJones's picture

£248bn in economic benefits by 2050 through cycling

Today (Tuesday 20 January 2015) CTC, the national cycling charity, launched its report 'The Economic Cycle – Quantifying the benefits of getting England Cycling' which found cycling in England could generate a total of £248bn in economic benefits by 2050.
Cyclists crossing Redhayes Bridge, Exeter

CTC commissioned Dr Robin Lovelace and Fiona Crawford, both from Leeds University, to quantify the benefits of cycling if the central recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s 'Get Britain Cycling' (GBC) report were met, in comparison with the targets set in the Government’s draft 'Cycling Delivery Plan' (CDP). The GBC report recommended a national target to increase cycle use from less than 2 per cent of all journeys (current levels) to 10 per cent by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2050. This is in comparison to t

Contact Information: 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 0844-736-8453 or 01483- 238- 315

Notes to Editors: 
  1. CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.
  2. CTC, in coalition with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sustrans, Living Streets, British Cycling and the Richmond Group is currently supporting an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which will ensure that there is a long term investment strategy for cycling and walking. For further information on the e-action see:
  3. The Coalition’s statement in support of the amendment can be found here:
  4. To download the full report visit:
  5. For the executive summary visit:
  6. For further information on the Get Britain Cycling report visit:
SamJones's picture

Walking and Cycling coalition makes public statement

CTC joins a coalition of cycling and walking partners to support an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that would create a long term financial commitment and strategy for cycling and walking in England.
Cyclists on Lambeth Bridge, London

The Infrastructure Bill, which will dictate the future direction and spending commitments for infrastructure once it becomes an Act, is nearing its conclusion. CTC, along with a number of leading transport groups, is demanding a change from the old ways of looking at transport infrastructure, as set out in the following statement:


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Cherry Allan's picture

Climate change

Cycling is part of the solution for a low-carbon future...
Headline Messages: 
  • Climate change threatens the future of our way of life and economy, as well as our health and the natural environment that cyclists treasure. There is little doubt amongst informed scientists that greenhouse emissions from human activity are already contributing to an increase in extreme weather events and loss of life around the world, and that dangerously high levels of CO2 concentrations are already being reached. To delay tackling climate change will be far more costly than acting now.
  • Cycling provided highly efficient transport before carbon-intensive travel became widespread, and it is part of the solution for a low-carbon future. It is one of the simplest lifestyle choices that individuals can make to reduce their carbon footprint. It also has huge benefits for their health, their wallets and their neighbourhoods.
  • Government bodies and businesses should act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by encouraging cycling as a zero-carbon option and by reducing the need to travel.
Key facts: 
  • It is generally accepted that climate change risks becoming critical if the world fails to limit temperature rises to 2°C over the pre-industrial average (although lower figures have been suggested).
  • The Climate Change Act 2008 commits the UK to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels.
  • The transport sector emitted 21% of the UK’s GHG emissions in 2012; 92% of this came from road transport.
  • Passenger cars account for more than half of all CO2 emissions from the transport sector – over 54% % in 2012, much more than any other mode.
  • If the amount of mileage cycled in Britain were doubled by decreasing car use, this would reduce CO2 emissions by 0.6 million tonnes per year. By switching from driving to cycling for a 4 mile each-way commute, an individual could save half a tonne of CO2 per year – or 6% of their personal carbon footprint.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • The imperative to halt and reverse the growth of greenhouse emissions should be the central aim of wider transport, planning and economic policies, locally, regionally and nationally. 
  • Cycling should be promoted as a zero-carbon transport option that can deliver worthwhile carbon savings, together with many other benefits, at very low cost.
  • National and local policy frameworks should aim to reduce the need to travel and promote cycling and other low-carbon alternatives to the car, and this should be a central objective for all relevant development agencies and local authorities.
  • Transport projects and development proposals that are predicted (or are likely) to increase greenhouse gas emissions should be rejected, and low-carbon alternatives developed instead.
  • The Government should oblige local authorities to make their contribution towards meeting the targets set by the Climate Change Act and progress should be reported and monitored effectively.  Voluntary action alone is not sufficient.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
July 2014
RobbieGillett's picture

Somerset and Hereford support Space for Cycling

17 December 2014
Somerset has became the first shire county with over 30% of its councillors committed to Space for Cycling. Since then, Hereford County Council has followed with 47% of councillors backing the campaign.
Councillors supporting Space for Cycling by Highway Authority - 16 Dec 2014

“As an authority we want to see more people cycling, it’s good for people’s health and means fewer cars on the road and less congestion." So says Councillor Harvey Siggs, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Somerset County Council.  This month, the local authority became the first shire county council with over 30% of councillors backing the national Space for Cycling campaign, funded by the Bicycle Association’s 'B


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