Huppert wins prestigious award for contribution to road safety

15 January, 2014 No Comments

Brake award Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, has been given a prestigious national award for his successful campaign for widespread 20mph limits in his Cambridge constituency, to make roads safer and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

Julian received the ‘Parliamentarian of the Year: Community Campaigner’ award at road safety charity Brake’s annual reception at the Houses of Parliament last night, sponsored by Direct Line Group. 

His campaigning for safer roads for walking and cycling spans back to 2006, when as leader of the Liberal Democrats in Cambridgeshire County Council, he demanded the council reconsider its negative position on 20mph limits in light of Portsmouth’s decision to implement widespread 20mph limits. After three years of campaigning, the council agreed to trial 20mph limits in small areas of Cambridge city centre.

Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, said: “I am delighted and honoured to have won this award from Brake. We do need to make roads much safer for people to walk and cycle, and 20mph limits will help to do that. I am really pleased that Cambridge City Council has taken such bold steps to make sure this becomes a reality.”

In 2010, Julian led a committee of MPs, the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (which he later joined as an MP), on a tour of Cambridge to show them the benefits of 20mph limits for cyclists. Shortly after this, Julian was elected as MP for Cambridge, and once again took up the mantle of campaigning for safer streets. He began calling for widespread 20mph limits across Cambridge, to make the entire city safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

In March 2013, Cambridge City Council announced it will implement 20mph limits on most residential and shopping streets, which will be phased in from January 2014.

Julian has been a vocal advocate of 20mph limits in the media as well as in Parliament, as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling. The group’s Get Britain Cycling report, published in 2013, called for 20mph limits to become the default on urban streets alongside a host of other measures to make streets safer and encourage greater levels of cycling.

Tim Ward, Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning and Sustainable Transport, said: “A city-wide 20mph scheme has many potential benefits, including reducing the number of crashes, reducing congestion, and improving people’s health as they feel more confident to cycle and to let their children cycle. Large scale 20mph schemes are the most cost-effective way of getting more people to cycle; the total cost of the Cambridge scheme is similar to that of re-designing one major road junction. Local residents have campaigned for years for small 20mph schemes, so I thought it best to meet this and future demand by implementing 20mph limits in residential streets across the whole city, which will work out cheaper than doing a handful of streets at a time.” 

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Brake believes everyone has the right to walk or cycle safely, without fear from fast traffic, and we know that 20mph limits are a critical step towards this. By speaking out for walking and cycling, successfully campaigning for widespread 20mph limits in Cambridge, and raising awareness in media and Parliament about the benefits, Julian has brought this vision a little closer. We’re delighted to be giving Julian recognition for his dedication to making streets safer for people to walk and cycle in Cambridge and the rest of the UK.”

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