Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (244)

John Curran


244. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to encourage more persons to consider cycling to and from work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27164/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I very much welcome the increased numbers of people choosing to make cycling part of their daily commute. Cycling and walking, have an important role to play in easing congestion, improving public health and enhancing the liveability of our towns and cities.

As the Deputy is probably aware between Census 2006 and Census 2016 there has been a 56% increase in the numbers cycling to work with significant increases recorded in a number of our major urban centres. These increases have been recorded against the policy backdrop provided by both Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future and the National Cycle Policy Framework, both of which were published in 2009 with a horizon out to 2020.

Of course, the Deputy will recognise that, notwithstanding the undoubted progress achieved since 2009, the Budgetary parameters during the initial years of both policies meant that the resources available to support implementation were constrained due to the economic and financial crisis and its aftermath. The Deputy will welcome, as I do, the fact that this Government is now in a position to make significant and increasing funding available to support active travel infrastructure, education and behavioural change programmes.

I particularly welcome the fact that we now have the funding available to support the implementation of the various cycle network plans in our major cities that have been developed in the last few years. In more rural areas, we have of course published the new Greenways Strategy and last week Minister of State Griffin and I announced details of the €40 million that is being made available to support greenways development in 9 different counties across the country.

In the coming weeks, and in line with a Programme for a Partnership Government commitment, I will seek the public's views on public transport and active travel policy. This review will allow all stakeholders to reflect on what has been achieved, what remains to be done and how our policy frameworks can support the realisation of a more sustainable transport system, including through increasing the numbers of cyclists.

I look forward to engaging with the Deputy during this process and hearing his views in relation to the promotion of active travel as a mode of transport.