West Midlands Cycling and Walking Ambassador Shanaze Reade has joined colleagues from cities and regions across the UK today to call on Government for greater powers and funding.

The cycling and walking commissioners have signed an open letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and the Conservative Party leadership candidates calling for five key policy changes including dedicated funding.

As well as asking for a commitment to long-term devolved funding for cycling and walking, the commissioners and ambassadors are asking for a political commitment to minimum quality standards for cycle lanes and other infrastructure and freedom to review traffic regulations.

Former world BMX and track cycling champion Shanaze Reade will be joining her counterparts at a national cycle summit in Manchester today.

She said: “Cycling and walking are fun, good for our health and great for the environment. I want more people to learn the benefits, but we can only do that with investment in high-quality schemes for cycling and walking and improvements in safety.

“The measures we are calling for today could truly transform our towns and cities and offer cycling and walking as a real alternatives to the car for many journeys.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street added: “Cycling can reduce congestion, improve air quality and improve health and is a vital part of our plans for transport.

“We have already put extra funding into cycling, taking spending to £10 per head across the region and set up the Better Streets Fund to support community schemes.

“But we are much more ambitious, for example we have plans to deliver a West Midlands-wide network of safe cycle routes. The five measures being called for by commissioners today would go a long way to helping us deliver on those plans.”

The five policy asks are:

  1. Commit to long-term devolved funding for cycling and walking
  2. A political commitment to minimum quality levels
  3. Reform policing and enforcement and ensure the local retention of fines
  4. Enable us to innovate by keeping road traffic regulations under review
  5. Transport investment decisions should account for the true cost of car use to society

Shanaze is signing the open letter alongside Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, Sheffield City Region, Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner and Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland.

Since October 2018 the WMCA has committed £23 million from the Transforming Cities Fund to cycling infrastructure.

Earlier this year plans were also set out to boost cycling including a network of safe cycle routes across the region.

Last month the Mayor launched the Better Streets Fund to help communities secure small scale schemes such as safe crossings. To find out more about the fund or make a bid visit www.wmca.org.uk/BetterStreets