GE2017 – Response from Conservatives

Rebecca Pow, Conservative Party

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Question 1: Dutch-style cycling network for Taunton

Question 2: Adopting up to date design guidance for cycling infrastructure

Question 3: Creating high quality safe cycleways

Question 4: Spending to improve bus services, walking and cycling

Question 5: Working with TACC


Introductory comments
Thank you for your email, as you know this is an area I am particularly interested in and have been working on for some time and indeed I have met with TACC to discuss your issues. (our note: TACC as a group hasn’t met Rebecca yet, although we are aware the Cycle Somerset did meet her at the Houses of Parliament in late 2016. Some Cycle Somerset members are also TACC supporters)
I have dedicated piece on cycling on my website and you may be interested to know that I am pulling together an environmental policy pamphlet that includes a section on cycling.
Please see my answers to your questions below – keep up the good work and I hope to meet with you again after the election.

Q1. This is a successful model when used in appropriate places and certainly something to aspire too.

Q2. I have already met with TACC and Cycle Somerset to discuss cycling in the area. (Our note: TACC as a group hasn’t met Rebecca Pow yet, although we are aware the Cycle Somerset did meet her at the Houses of Parliament in late 2016. Some Cycle Somerset members are also TACC supporters). I am aware of design issues relating to cycling infrastructure and will certainly continue to highlight key concerns if re-elected. I have already feedback to Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Highways England.

Q3. I have already been in discussion with Taunton Deane Borough Council regarding improved cycling networks throughout the Taunton area, particularly opportunities that might arise through the newly designated Garden Town Status, something I was highly involved in securing. I am continuing discussions with GWR relating to the Taunton Rail transformation project which I also played a role in delivering funds for. I will continue to do this.

Q4. I am delighted that over the past six years, thanks to Conservative led Governments, encouraging cycling and walking has risen up the agenda. Cycling rates have increased in areas where dedicated funding has been made available, and spending on cycling has risen from around £2 per person in 2010 to £6 per person in England in 2016-17. The Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy has made over £1 billion of funding available to local bodies that may be invested in cycling and walking over the next five years. This goes beyond the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto commitment to invest over £200 million to make cycling safer, and commits over £300 million to dedicated cycling and walking programmes alone.

Q5. I have already met with TACC and other cycling groups and the local authorities to discuss improvements to cycling in the constituency and I shall continue to press on these issues if re-elected. I shall be working in particular on the potential of opening up a cycle route between Bishops Lydeard, Cotford St Luke, Norton Fitzwarren and Taunton and a safe cycle crossing at J25 of the M5.
Obviously there is more to do and more that I will do if I am re-elected on June 8th, I hope that I can count on your support.