Addressing an MK City Council Delegated Decision meeting on Jan 31st discussing LCWIP Alan Francis, Policy Officer for MK Green Party criticised the Council for its lack of funding for and very slow implementation of the
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.
Alan Francis said, “We welcome the publication of the LCWIP report. We support the focus on the old towns because they are the places most in need of improved cycling and walking facilities. We could quibble about the order of priorities but we’re not going to – basically they are all needed. Where we do take issue is with the delivery and funding. There is a long list of 300 schemes of which the top 100 are shown in table 5.2. this is whittled down to a short list of 28 in Table 7.1. but of those just one scheme is to be delivered in the first year and just 4 in the following 2 years. At that rate it would take 150 years to deliver all 300 schemes. Years 4-10 have another 23 schemes – at that delivery rate it would still take 100 years to deliver them all.
“So the council really needs to speed up the delivery rate. It should be doing at least 5 schemes per year but preferably 10. The 28 schemes in the short list would cost £36m. Some people have interpreted this as a commitment. But the small print states that this is “subject to successful bids for government funding.” This is a bit like someone saying that they are going to buy Buckingham Palace, subject to winning the lottery.
“MKCC has not been very successful lately when it comes to bids for sustainable transport grants. Its bids for Cycling Towns and Bus Service Improvement Plan funding both failed with MKCC getting nothing. It did receive an offer of a £16m grant for electric buses (ZEBRA) but then failed to make an agreement with Arriva so that too has resulted in no funding coming to MK.
“MKCC has never funded cycling and walking properly. In some years the funds allocated to cycling and walking were used to cover overspends on other transport projects. More money needs to be allocated to the implementation of LCWIP. If that comes from government grants that is to be welcomed. But the council has
other sources of funding – S106, tariff, council tax, business rates, parking income, etc. More money needs to be allocated to the implementation of LCWIP from these sources in order to speed up delivery. Council will soon be setting its budget so that is the opportunity to allocate more funding for LCWIP.
“If MKCC is serious about MK being the Greenest city by 2030 it has to invest a lot more in cycling and walking over the next few years. The budget needs to reflect that.”
Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, MKCC Cabinet member for Sustainability replied, “I don’t disagree with what you say but we haven’t got any money.”
MKCC subsequently set its budget at a full council meeting on 22nd Feb, with no more funding allocated to the implementation of LCWIP.
Note: The debate at the MKCC Delegated Decision meeting can be viewed at, with the LCWIP item starting at 16:45 mins and Alan Francis’s contribution at 19:15 mins.