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Assembly candidates back calls to invest in pedal power

By Linda Stewart

Published 22/04/2016

Letter: Jon Snow
Letter: Jon Snow

Calls to invest more in cycling have received a ringing endorsement from Assembly candidates ahead of the May 5 election.

A third of candidates backed long-term funding for cycling and active travel here.

Channel 4 News anchor and Cycling UK president Jon Snow wrote to all Stormont hopefuls asking three questions in a major pre-election survey.

The results were overwhelming, with 99% backing calls for more traffic-free greenways.

Of the third of the candidates who responded, 94% supported investing £10 per head of population to fund cycling, promote safer conditions and encourage more people to take it up.

Calls for an Active Travel Act to incorporate cycling and walking into land-use planning and new developments received support from 97%.

Cycling UK, NI Greenways and Sustrans called on voters to tell politicians about the survey results and ask them to pledge their support for active travel.

Cycling's benefits in terms of health, the environment and the economy are well-known, according to the groups.

The same groups said the drive applied equally to rural areas as it did to urban ones, with the development of greenways in both bringing huge tourism and regeneration potential.

Cycling UK president Jon Snow added: "I would urge all MLA candidates to respond to our three simple questions and let the electorate know that they support the vision of a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous Northern Ireland."

Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director, said: "We are pleased to see so many candidates standing in this May's Assembly election being supportive of active travel and sustainable transport.

"We know that cycling is an easy way to incorporate exercise into our daily life.

"It is emissions-free and for every pound invested in cycling, the economy gets five back."

Full details of the MLAs responses are available at bikefast.org/assembly-elections-2016

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