MP calls for cross-governmental support for active travel to combat diabetes growth

In a Westminster debate on diabetes this week, Conservative MP Andrew Selous has called for a cross-Government strategy to back active travel.

Lifestyle changes were heavily discussed in the debate, which noted that the number of UK people with diabetes could reach five million, in the next six years.

Selous (who had cycling to the House of Commons for the discussion) called for “more cycling and walking in cities”, adding: “It is a design and planning issue… we need a cross-government strategy to build in active and healthy travel for children and adults to help the situation.”

Conservative MP John Hayes noted generational lifestyle changes have exacerbated the rise of diabetes, particularly type 2: “My father cycled five miles to work and five miles home every day, but now most people do not do that.”

Habitual cycling has been linked with lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes and calls for Governments to prioritise active travel have been made from the World Heath Organisation and many others.

Back in 2013, Wales’Active Travel Act forced local councils to provide routes and consider cyclists and walkers when planning new road and rail links, though the Welsh Government was criticised for inadequate funding to back the legislation. In 2017, the Government set out its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) that planned to make cycling and walking the norm by 2040, double cycling by 2020 (not long now) and dedicated funding to cycling proficiency training for children and other infrastructure projects. There’s analysis on CWIS here.