Jan 7 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
Cyclists who were hoping to use the two new wheels they got this Christmas to travel in Brent will find it difficult this year.
A Freedom of Information request shows Brent Council is spending less on cycling infrastructure than five years ago.
The information shows that in 2008/9 Brent Council spent almost £1m on cycle infrastructure out of the Transport Budget, but in 2011/12 it was just £67,500.
Andrew Roberston, who runs the Two Wheels and Beyond and Social Investigations blogs, put in the FOI and said: “Brent isn’t the worst, but the fall in funding by Brent Council is deeply worrying at a time when cycling is seen as a solution to multiple problems, including reducing obesity, emissions and improving noise pollution.”
The figures show that in 2007/8 Brent Council spend £291,000 on cycling out of a transport budget of £7,744,060 and the following year they spent £940,000 out of a budget of £5,422,190, which was the highest figure spent on cycling in the past five years.
Since then the amount has declined each year to £67,500 out of a transport budget of £4,164,680 in the financial year 2011/12.
David Arditti, coordinator of Brent Cyclists, said: “The current staff cuts at Brent Council mean they have very few staff now to manage any cycling schemes. The situation seems to be getting worse.
“Changes to roads are being planned by people who have no knowledge of cycling and recently Brent Cyclists has objected to many schemes for main roads in the borough which would make cycling far more difficult. These are the kind of problems we face with Brent Council.”
A Brent Council spokeswoman said: “Funding specific to cycling infrastructure delivery, formerly known as the ‘London Cycle Network’ and subsequently ‘London Cycle Network Plus’, was removed from boroughs and pooled by the existing Mayor of London within his first term of office. His vision was to deliver twelve Cycling Superhighways across London.
“Unfortunately, no Cycling Superhighway spans the London borough of Brent. Some boroughs have benefited from millions of pounds of investment from the Mayor’s office for this initiative, which may make Brent appear something of a poor relation, compared with certain other London boroughs who have directly benefitted from the Cycling Superhighways.
“Via carefully planned investment of the annual Transport for London (TfL) Capital Funding allocation, Brent Council is proud to have achieved more than any other London borough in terms of protecting the most vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians.
“In recent years, an independent report assessing London borough success rates in reducing cycling casualties (commissioned by TfL) was undertaken by a reputable firm of specialist consultants, Atkins.
“The analysis – conducted over a significant period of time using Stats-19 data, which is collated by London’s Metropolitan Police – served to demonstrate significant strides Brent Council has made in reducing cycling casualties on the borough’s roads.”