Examination of Witnesses (Questions 318
WEDNESDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2001
318. Gentlemen, I welcome you to the committee.
Perhaps you would identify yourselves for the record.
(Mr Palmer) I am Derek Palmer and I work for Steer
Davies Gleave, but I am here in my capacity as Chairman of the
DETR Joint Cycling/Walking Group for the training of professionals.
(Mr Roberts-James) I am Carlton Roberts-James, Director
of Technical Affairs at the Institution of Highways and Transportation.
319. Does either witness want to say anything
by way of introduction?
(Mr Palmer) Chairman, I welcome the inquiry. Possibly
this is the first time that the committee has looked at walking
as a serious mode of transport. Too often walking tends to be
reviewed in the context of road safety concerns and is lumped
in with cyclists and vulnerable road user issues. It is pleasant
to see that this specific issue is being addressed by the committee.
(Mr Roberts-James) I agree with those
views. I should like to set out some points that we can perhaps
look at in greater detail than we have submitted in writing. The
institution believes that walking is one of the cornerstones of
sustainable transport policies. Therefore, we welcome that it
is being looked at as a mode of transport on its own. But there
are four key concerns which need to be looked at in more detail.
First, walking usually requires small-scale as opposed to major
projects. Strategic investment plans, like the 10-year plan, have
a tendency to look at major schemes. That may not deliver the
desired outcomes that we are all keen to see. Secondly, walking
should be made mainstream in terms of professional activity so
that everybody involved, whether one is a drainage or maintenance
engineer, has a special concern to put people first in their work.
Thirdly, the Government are consulting on proposals for wellbeing.
There is a clear relationship between the ability to walk safely
and conveniently and wellbeing. I am not convinced that that has
been fully picked up in the consultation. The fourth point is
the question of investing to save. There is a clear relationship
between walking and health, and we may achieve our joint objectives
in terms of health and improving walking if budgets are looked
at from a cross-sectoral point of view. I believe that those four
themes are of particular importance.