Lobbying of European Parliament could release millions to build cycling infrastructure

The European Cycling Federation (of which LCC is a member through Cyclenation) has earned a major victory in its campaign for more recognition of cycling infrastructure in the EU budget 2014-20.

The European Parliament’s Tourism and Transport Committee voted for amendments that give cycling to its proper place within European strategic transport planning.

For the first time, MEPs have decided to include cycling within the Trans-European Transport Network (‘TEN-T’) guidelines, opening the door for billions of Euro in cycling investments, particularly for the EuroVelo project.

EuroVelo is concerned with the development of high-quality cycle routes in all EU countries and regions, integrating transport networks and harmonising standards. 

In the early years, the modest EuroVelo plan was to create 12 long-distance cycle routes, of interest primarily to tourists, but the project has since expanded in scope, and the network as currently envisaged will total over 70,000 kilometres of cycle routes.

Cycling within and between conurbations is common in the densely populated low countries, but in the UK we're seeing increasing urbanisation along major transport routes, and not only in the southeast of England.

In terms of funding the demands of cycling are likely to be smaller than those of the European haulage industry and rail sector, but it’s vital the interests of cyclists aren't ignored.

Chair of LCC’s board of trustees Ann Kenrick said, “It’s great we’ve succeeded in getting cycling into EU policy documents, because this makes it easier to get money and infrastructure moving at the national level too, keeping the potential for billions of euros for cycling on the table.”

The European Parliament listened to the voices of millions of cyclists across Europe, including those from LCC's board of trustees (see PDF of our letter), and is now including cycling in vital infrastructure guidelines.

European cyclists are lobbying the EU because from 2007-13, cycling was only allocated 0.7% of the EU funding available for transport.

For the next financial period (2014-2020), ECF has identified €6 billion (10% of EU funding) that should be dedicated to cycling.

Unlocking these funds is requiring sustained pressure on the European institutions from the European Cycling Federation and European citizens who cycle.

The ECF’s Adam Bodor said, “Our team has been setting the scene, building the political contacts and placing cycling into this agenda for more than two years.

“We’ve won a victory now, but there’ll be more campaigning required as the EU decides on even bigger budgets throughout next year.”