§ Mr. Norris
The Government have welcomed the Royal Commission on environmental pollution's report as a valuable contribution to the wider debate we are encouraging on transport policy.
We recognise the value of cycling transport policies and programmes and we have made it plain in statements and within the recent transport policies and programmes guidance that we expect highway authorities to work with others to achieve better conditions for cyclists. That will inevitably include the development of sound cycle networks, building on the experience from our cycle routes programme. The Government believe that cycling proposals are most effective when they are fitted into a balanced set of measures. Accordingly, we have accepted 37 local authority transport packages for funding, the great majority of which include cycle networks or other measures that benefit cyclists. One notable example is the London cycle network, for which £3 million support will be provided in this financial year. In reaching decisions on funding, my Department looks for evidence that authorities are pursuing viable cycling policies and promoting cycling as a better alternative to the car for many journeys. In addition, I recently announced my intention to develop a national strategy for cycling.
Fatalities to cyclists and pedestrians are at their lowest level since records began in 1927. We shall continue to seek the maximum reduction in casualties, through a wide range of measures, including education, penalties for dangerous driving, research, engineering schemes and substantial publicity campaigns.
British Rail's commercial policy is to welcome cyclists and to convey bicycles whenever and wherever possible, subject to certain fees, provided this will not unduly inconvenience other passengers or displace other revenue earning traffic.
The cyclists' public affairs group, with the assistance of the Department of Transport, has produced a guidance document for rail service operators explaining how they 403W can make their services more attractive to the growing number of cyclists. The franchising director will send copies of the document to all bidders for rail franchises. In addition, the franchising director is currently considering whether the franchise agreement should include any provision for the carriage of bicycles on trains.