Tuesday 12 October 2010

The Waltham Forest Cycle Action Plan (where ‘action’ equals inertia)

Target 4 of The Waltham Forest Cycle Action Plan is

To maintain the target of 5 per cent of children cycling to secondary school and to train this number of children in participating schools.

I used the Freedom of Information Act to ask what the council's latest figures are for the percentage of children cycling to school in the borough.

I had a reply telling me this information might be restricted, or I might have to pay. Then I didn’t get a reply at all within the statutory time limit. But in the end I extracted this priceless morsel:

The percentage of children cycling to school in the London Borough of Waltham Forest in the academic year 2009/2010 is 1.3 %. This information is generated from the school census return which schools submit to the Department of Education.

In other words, the overwhelming majority of children are NOT cycling to school in Waltham Forest and the cycle action plan target is nowhere near to being achieved. No surprise there, in view of the car-sodden streets, the huge numbers of dangerous and lawless drivers, and the mediocre and unsafe cycling infrastructure. But then Waltham Forest is a borough where the car-centric transport planners have even expressly deterred children from cycling to one local school by making a recommended cycle route NO ENTRY (even though, with charactestic ineptitude, they’ve left the cycle sign in place).