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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2016  /  July 2016  /  ‘Stuck in first gear - the Government’s Cycling Revolution’

‘Stuck in first gear - the Government’s Cycling Revolution’

Michael Nattrass co-authors parliamentary report

‘Stuck in first gear - the Government’s Cycling Revolution’

Michael Nattrass, PhD researcher in UCLGeography, has co-authored a Report for the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG), a cross party body of members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, calling for stronger strategic ambition and sustained Government investment to make cycling a clear national priority across England.

Working in collaboration with cycling policy expert Christopher Peck, the Report was written as the official response by the APPCG to the Government’s draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).  It has received significant publicity since its launch on 8 June 2016 after the annual BikeWeek ride from the Dutch Embassy to Parliament.

The Parliamentary Group’s Inquiry into the draft strategy was held on 23 May 2016, and focused on the CWIS as the Government’s action plan for growing cycling.  Oral evidence was taken from a panel of five experts, including key figures such as Chris Boardman, of British Cycling, highlighting concerns with the draft CWIS. Evidence was also taken from Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State with responsibility for cycling and walking. Since then, Michael has been instrumental in producing a briefing document with suggestive questions for the inquiry and its Final Report.

The APPCG Report welcomed the Government’s recognition that substantial increases in cycling would provide solutions to a wide range of pressing policy issues, at the same time as creating more healthy places to live and work.  It goes on to offer eight recommendations that, ‘enjoy cross-party support and seek to inform a CWIS that is equipped to realise the Prime Minister’s own desire to place cycling in England on a “level-footing with countries like the Netherlands.”’

The recommendations are as follows:

  • Strong ambition to “see a cycling revolution.”
  • Greater investment in cycling.
  • Clear direction that cycling is a national priority.
  • Robust measures to gauge progress nationally and locally.
  • Improving quality of cycle infrastructure design.
  • Deregulation of street design.
  • An updated Highway Code.
  • Action to improve enforcement of traffic laws.

Michael comments: “It was a great opportunity to work with the APPCG on its efforts to grow cycling and walking in England.  Working on their report offered the opportunity to inform this process with the insights from my ongoing research project, while also learning from key experts in the field of cycling policy.  Being able to put research into practice and shape my research project from the insights obtained from others, is one the key reasons for developing the close ties between my geographical research and the work of the Transport Institute here at UCL.”

Adam Coffman, Coordinator of All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group added: “Michael was involved in the whole process, which included briefings and drafting questions for the panel of Parliamentarians and the final report. He was a pleasure to work with – reliable, organised, wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion in a useful way and also very good humoured. I hope we can work together in the future.”

Dr Alan Latham, UCL Geography, goes onto say: “Michael’s work for the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group shows the ways the work we do at UCL feeds into debates on policy issues.  The report pulls together an impressive amount of research and suggests concrete ways the United Kingdom can become more cycling friendly. Michael’s work on the report is an impressive achievement for someone still in the first year of their PhD.”

The report can be found at:


APPCG, 2016

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