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Chris Boardman: It's not clear how targets to boost cycling can be met

Former Olympic champion Chris Boardman has raised doubts over how targets to increase cycling in England will be met.

The Government published its much anticipated £1.2 billion plan to make cycling and walking "the natural choice for shorter journeys" on Friday, including an aim to double cycling activity by 2025.

But Boardman, a policy advisor at B ritish Cycling, claimed it is "not clear" how the goal will be met with the funding levels set out in the strategy.

He said: " We will be calling on the Chancellor to make the necessary funding - starting at 5% of transport spend - available to local government so that they can invest in truly ambitious plans to develop world-class cycling infrastructure and networks to meet these targets."

He added that t he publication of the strategy was a " watershed moment for active travel in this country" and praised ministers for its release.

The plan sets out the intention to reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured per distance cycled by 2020.

The Government also aims to increase the percentage of children aged 5 to 10 that usually walk to school from 49% in 2014 to 55% in 2025.

University of Glasgow research published on Thursday found that c ycling to work cuts the risk of developing heart disease and cancer by almost half.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We are making cycling and walking more accessible to everyone because of the substantial health and environmental benefits - it will also be a boost for businesses because a fitter and healthier workforce is more productive.

"We have already tripled spending on cycling since 2010 and we are now publishing a long-term investment plan because we are absolutely committed to increasing levels of cycling and walking."

The funding includes £50 million to provide cycling proficiency training for 1.3 million children, £85 million to make improvements to 200 sections of roads for cyclists and £389.5 million for councils to invest in walking and cycling schemes.

Some 3,430 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads in the year ending September 2016, Department for Transport figures show.

Rallies are being held in towns and cities across England and Scotland this weekend to call for more and improved space for cycling.

Roger Geffen, policy director at charity Cycling UK, said: " Cycling UK has spent years campaigning for a strong and well-funded Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, so we're pleased to see it finally published two years after it was initially announced."

He called for cross-party support to strengthen the plan and pledged to support local authorities in " making best use of the resources available as they start bringing this vision to life".

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