, , ,

“Cycling should be for the many, not the brave” – City MP urges Transport Minister to visit Portsmouth

Local MP, Stephen Morgan, has used a Westminster Hall debate he co-sponsored on Active Travel as an opportunity to invite the Government Minister responsible to Portsmouth to help the city fulfil its ambitions in active travel. 

In a bid to highlight the current obstacles faced by local cycling and walking infrastructure projects in the city he grew up in, Mr Morgan spoke in the Parliamentary debate and urged the Government to do more to encourage sustainable ways of moving around.

The keen cyclist and Brompton owner, Mr Morgan said:

“As it stands, the Government must do more to increase active travel and decrease their current tradition of missed targets. Walking and Cycling infrastructure is the key to a fitter, healthier and greener Britain. Government policy should reflect this.

We know that in 5 days 8 cyclists were tragically killed in London alone and that a major obstacle to people getting out and active is fear and nervousness of the transition to active travel. Cycling should be for the many, not the brave.

I am proud that our city boasts a City to Share plan that has the potential to be the blueprint for active travel across the country. Portsmouth people are pioneering the path on this, now it is time the Government followed suit.”

The speech focused on the potential possessed by Portsmouth in this regard, as a flat city with the perfect geography for active travel, Mr Morgan expressed that the felt it would be a wasted opportunity if the Government did not properly invest in the necessary infrastructure.

One of the obstacles identified by campaigners is the current disjointed nature of active travel funding.

The Portsmouth South representative said:

“While the increases in funding for cycling and walking infrastructure are welcome, the problem faced by my city is that the local authority, who have seen unprecedented cuts under this Government’s reign of austerity, does not have the capacity to go searching for poorly-signposted funding.

I agree with the LGA’s sentiments that too often funding is provided in the form of short-term capital grants linked to bidding processes with strict criteria. This stop start funding doesn’t allow councils to develop long term plans.

We need to see clearly signposted, accessible and adequate funding for active travel in Portsmouth.”

Mr Morgan’s speech further hit upon the key benefits arising from more widespread active travel and paid particular attention to how this could be the key to cracking the climate change conundrum. 

Mr Morgan said:

“Where other sectors have taken positive strides and seen reductions, the amount of harmful emissions churned out by the transport sector has grown.

It is now the single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and the worst performing sector when it comes to reducing the outpour of harmful gases. 

Active travel is an integral part of our arsenal when it comes to tackling the world’s climate degradation, but at the moment not enough people are involved.“ 

Mr Morgan closed his speech by urging the Minister to visit his home city and see first-hand the incredible work done by local organisations like Portsmouth Cycle Forum. The Minister is yet to respond to this invite.