Cyclist stops for red light… nearly gets taken out by light-jumping …
We are pleased to welcome Anthony Browne MP @AnthonyBrowneMP who has been appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport.⁰⁰#Reshuffle pic.twitter.com/Gz4Ib1iQu3
It's fair to say the self-professed 'keen cyclist' title is often met with suspicion, especially when the person doing the self-professing has a sudden and particularly strong view on a cycling-related debate or, in this case, has been appointed as the Minister for Decarbonisation of Transport & the Future of Transport at the Department for Transport, a role under which active travel is well within their remit.
Are you actually a cyclist or are the words a hollow attempt to gain trust? Perhaps I'm overly cynical, but all remains to be seen as Anthony Browne — you guessed it, a keen cyclist according to his website — takes over the role from Jesse Norman.
In an out-of-date post on his website, Browne says "cycling has a significant role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and environmental challenges that we face" before going on to cite the now-cut active travel budget as proof of the government's support...
The reaction to the appointment has been mixed, Cycling UK saying it "looks forward to working" together and expressing a "hope that he'll support the policies and funding" that will enable people to choose to walk and cycle short local journeys.
"We hope the new minister will be able to re-establish the positive rhetoric on our transport options, and ensure we're maximising the economic, health and environmental benefits there are in having a sustainable transport network that facilitates choice in how we move around," Cycling UK's chief executive Sarah Mitchell said.
CamCycle, the campaign group for cycling in Cambridge, added that it hopes to see the South Cambridgeshire MP using his background in the city to "refocus government policies and funding on its ambitious cycling goals".
So what does the man himself have to say? Commenting on his appointment to the role that will require him to oversee electric cars, autonomous vehicles, active travel, e-scooters, sustainable aviation, and maritime and rail decarbonisation, Browne said he is "thrilled".
"I am thrilled to be appointed to this dynamic and challenging brief. Having worked closely with the government and others advocating for local transport projects like the A428 rebuild, I am excited to take on this packed portfolio," he said.
"Electric and autonomous vehicles, active travel, and sustainable practices in aviation and maritime are not just about technology; they’re about improving people’s lives and preserving our environment for future generations."
A brief scan of social media suggests the jury is still out on this one, one commenter saying they "could weep" and comparing putting Browne in charge of decarbonisation to "like putting Genghis Khan in charge of peace negotiations". Another less optimistic review below...
Let the fun begin...
- ^ @AnthonyBrowneMP (twitter.com)
- ^ #Reshuffle (twitter.com)
- ^ pic.twitter.com/Gz4Ib1iQu3 (t.co)
- ^ November 14, 2023 (twitter.com)
- ^ website (www.anthonybrowne.org)
- ^ > High Court grants legal challenge to government's cycling funding cuts – as ministers forced to concede they were aware of "devastating" impact of decision to slash active travel budget (road.cc)
- ^ @AnthonyBrowneMP (twitter.com)
- ^ https://t.co/V2yEiVukGx (t.co)
- ^ November 15, 2023 (twitter.com)