Commenting on the announcement of £2bn of funding for cycling and walking, Hannah Vickers, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering said:
“This is a welcome commitment by the government to investing in our transport networks for our post-COVID-19 economic environment. The pandemic will clearly be a catalyst for a number of changes in our society and how we travel will be one of them.
“I would urge the government to go further, however, as this announcement has not addressed the environmental impact of road and rail use which must be addressed if we are to meet our net zero targets. The way in which we move the bulk of our people and freight has to be decarbonised and whether we like it or not that will not be achieved unless we tackle cars and lorries. For all but short journeys, walking and cycling will not be an option for most people.
“To achieve this decarbonisation, we will need a strong engineering and consultancy sector that will be able to provide the strategic master planning and design advice for the development of our transport networks, but this very capability is under threat at the moment.
“To ensure that the industry can provide the government with the expertise it will need to meet is wider agenda, work must be brought forward now to allow the industry to function. I would urge the secretary of state to invest in the master planning work for how we decarbonise our transport networks now, so that when we emerge from the lockdown we can begin to build this new transport environment.”