With Boris Johnson now installed as British PM, a new cabinet has been put together, including a new Transport Secretary in Grant Shapps.
In addition, Chris Heaton-Harris has become Minister of State for Transport, the DfT’s minister responsible for cycling and walking. Heaton-Harris’ appointment could be significant. Both the APPCG and Cycling UK have congratulated his appointment and pointed out the Minister has previously stated he wants to see cycling as a normal activity for all.
Grant Shapps is a keen HS2 advocate, the new Transport Secretary has taken part in charity cycle rides and has appeared broadly supportive of cycling, at least while quizzed by a cycle group from his constituency.
With the cycle industry contributing £5.4 billion to the UK economy, not to mention cycling contributing £3.1 billion to the UK economy in health benefits, £430 million in congestion benefits and £230 million in pollution benefits – it is hoped the new policy makers will be supportive of cycling during their tenures.
Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps takes over the role from Chris Grayling, who held the role for three years and faced a large volume of criticism during his tenure – he narrowly survived a ‘no confidence’ vote last summer and, alarmingly, struggled with the concept of cyclists as road users.
Days prior to Shapps’ appointment, the Department for Transport promised to use artificial intelligence tech for a UK road ‘stocktake’, to better understand the state of UK roads, including assessing sections of the National Cycle Network to ascertain the condition of the network.