Sunday, 8 December 2013

In Touch With Reality

Photo of Nia Griffith
Nia Griffith (Llanelli, Labour) Speaking in the debate about the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s report “Get Britain Cycling”. Which endorses the target of 10 per cent of all journeys being by bike by 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050; and calls on the Government to show strong political leadership, including an annual Cycling Action Plan and sustained funding for cycling.

This evening we are not just talking about recreational facilities; we are talking about how to get people cycling much more in their everyday lives, and not just on holiday. It needs to be practical and safe for people to go by bike wherever they need to go—whether to work or to the shops, the doctor’s, the leisure centre or the cinema, and so forth. That means making routes everywhere safer and more pleasant for cyclists. We need proper investment—at least £10 a head, as the report suggests—to ensure the infrastructure. We need the political will to prioritise spending on cycling. We need joined-up thinking across Departments. We need thinking at the initial stages of planning for any infrastructure, but we also need to look at retrospective measures.

We have heard about encouraging children and young people through training programmes in schools, but we also need training programmes for young adults—possibly at university—and for adults when they start work. We talk about encouraging people to cycle, particularly young children and school pupils, but we also need to be aware that designated cycle areas, such as along canals or old railway tracks, might not be suitable if they are not well lit and visible. Those areas need to be in the public domain and within easy contact of a lot of people; otherwise they will not be suitable for use by children going to school.

I wonder when the trust will start installing the canalside lighting for cyclists.

Lord Greaves (Liberal Democrat) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the value of recreational use of canals and navigable rivers to the United Kingdom economy.

Lord de Mauley (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative) The Government do not have an estimate for the value of recreational use of canals and navigable rivers to the economy. However, the impact assessment produced in February 2012 as part of the work to create the Canal & River Trust gave a conservative estimate for the recreational value of the waterways to users of £300 million per annum. This includes informal waterway recreational activity only and does not include leisure-related spending, such as on food and drink, boating or accommodation, that is associated with recreational use of the waterways.

So boating is only an informal recreational activity, I wonder what he thinks the canals were built for!

Lord Hylton (Crossbench) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will support proposals to make use of the tidal power of the Severn and its estuary using the English Stones site, tidal lagoons or canals and any other viable means.

Baroness Verma (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative) We recognise that a traditional tidal barrage is not the only way of exploiting the outstanding resource of the Severn estuary. The Government are keen to hear about well developed proposals for harnessing the power of the Severn estuary.

Canals used for generating electrical power! 

Photo of Hugh RobertsonHugh Robertson (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport; Faversham and Mid Kent, Conservative) The Government, through VisitEngland, promote tourism on inland waterways in a number of ways. Inland waterways have benefited from Government funding through the £25 million rural growth fund and a £1 billion contribution to the Canal & River Trust.

Photo of Gavin WilliamsonGavin Williamson (South Staffordshire, Conservative) South Staffordshire has some of the finest canals in England, with the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal and the Shropshire Union canal. What more can my right hon. Friend do to encourage not only more domestic tourists, but more international tourists to discover the delights of our canals, which would bring much-needed business not just to rural communities, but to our towns and cities?
Hugh Robertson I have a very simple and, I hope, positive answer for my hon. Friend. VisitBritain will actively market all of Britain’s canals and waterways on its public-facing website. I hope that that will achieve the effect that he desires.

Well that's that sorted then!

We voted them in and they work for us?

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