This week the European Parliament holds its plenary session in Strasbourg, France, and the ECF Member Association the Départements et Régions Cyclables (DRC) has taken this opportunity to organise a public workshop under the banner ‘More Euros for cycling’. The objective is to get cycling mentioned in all relevant guidelines and framework documents linked to the next European financial period (2014-2020).
Alain Spada, DRC president during the conference in Strasbourg. Photo credit DRC
10% for cycling
ECF has calculated that 6 billion euros could be allocated to cycling during this period. To reach this target, cycling has to be mentioned in the national and regional frameworks of each member state. This is the objective of the 6 billion campaign that we launched last year. The conference organized by DRC this week is an excellent example of the awareness raising work that can be done at national level to achieve this. By gathering 60 key stakeholders – from representatives of local authorities to cycling advocates – the DRC has put France at the forefront of this campaign for more cycling in Europe.
The consensus is that cycling has a high return on investment
There is plenty of evidence of the effectiveness of investing in cycling. But not only is cycling the most cost effective mode of transport, it also has a significant positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the entire population. The participants of the DRC conference heard about the good practice examples of EuroVelo routes 1 and 6 in France, where public bodies have worked together to develop some of the best cycle routes in Europe, which in turn have attracted cycle tourists from across Europe as well as benefitting the local communities. In these times of scarce public budgets, we need to get the message to the ears of the decision makers that their money can go further if invested wisely in promoting cycling.
Time to act
The timeframe is important. Decisions concerning the next 7 years are being taken currently. The question is not to increase public spending but to allocate more efficiently the existing EU budget. If cycling is mentioned explicitly in the national frameworks we can ensure that more European funds are made available for cycling. In the last EU Funding period (2007-2013), only €600 000 was allocated to cycling related projects. Compared to the trillion Euro EU budget, this is peanuts.
What can you do?
You need to get in touch with the body in charge of making the strategic framework for your country or region. Contact ECF to find out if an organisation in your country is already working on the subject to better coordinate your actions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Give us news whenever you have reached a milestone in this long lasting effort.
More on the conference on DRC website (in French) http://www.departements-regions-cyclables.org/page/index.php?p=64&ref=58
ECF 6 billion campaign http://www.ecf.com/eu-funding-2/