The government is facing a legal challenge from a campaign group over its cut to investment in walking and cycling in England.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Transport Action Network (TAN), have written to the Department for Transport (DfT) to formally seek a judicial review of the cuts announced in March by Mark Harper, the transport secretary, reports the Guardian.
The group said that the active travel budget cuts bypassed legal processes and risk undermining commitments about air pollution and the climate emergency.
The cuts were seen”a backward move” by the Walking and Cycling Alliance (WACA) in March when they were announced, an estimate made that two thirds of previously promised funding would be lost, making it “impossible” to meet Net Zero and active travel targets, said the Guardian report.
TAN also argue that the DfT’s claim that more than £3 billion is being spent on active travel during this parliament includes budgets from other departments that may benefit active travel, but do not provide evidence of how.
Additionally, even if the £3 billion figure is met, TAN notes this is less than the £18 billion required to meet the government’s target for half of all urban journeys to be walked or cycled by 2030.
TAN’s director Chris Todd said: “Legally binding targets to cut carbon and air pollution rely on big increases in walking and cycling by 2030. But official forecasts predict we’ll miss this ambition by a mile. Rather than increasing effort, ministers seem to be deliberately sabotaging these efforts.”
He suggested the March cut could be “the Jenga block that makes climate, air quality, levelling up and health plans all come tumbling down”.
A DfT spokesperson said. “We are committed to delivering active travel infrastructure that enables everyone to build healthier journeys into their daily lives. That is why we are investing over £3bn into active travel – more than any other government.”