READING'S Green Party has launched a petition calling for a boost to what they deem "unambitious" cycling targets set by the council.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) announced that roads will be temporarily transformed to enable social distancing for those cycling and walking during the coronavirus crisis.

The schemes, which will re-allocate roads for active travel such as cycle lanes, will be constructed immediately and some should be in place by the end of June.

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A series of further schemes, which are dependent on government funding, were also approved at RBC's Policy Committee meeting on May 18.

But Green campaigners believe the council could be doing more, and that plans are "unambitious".

David McElroy, Green campaigner for Redlands and keen cyclist, said: “Greens welcome the recently announced improvements for cycling which will give people more space and make cycling more attractive.

“Cycling is a healthy sustainable way to get round and should make sense for many more people in a compact town like Reading.

"We want to see other measures, such as a joined-up cycle network, more 20 mph zones and segregated cycle lanes brought forward as quickly as possible."

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Louise Keane, Green campaigner for Katesgrove, added: “We would also like to see more ambitious cycling targets in the new local transport plan – currently out for consultation.

"The draft plan lacks ambition and only proposes increasing the proportion of adults cycling up from a low 5 per cent to a not much higher 10 per cent in 16 years’ time - 2036.

"In the Netherlands on a similar measure the percentage of people currently cycling is around 70 per cent.

"Elsewhere in the UK, currently 35 per cent is the gold standard in Cambridge.

"The council’s target is not ambitious.

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“David McElroy and I have created a petition to get the council to increase the cycling targets and action in the new local transport plan."

Reading Chronicle:

David McElroy on his bike.

Speaking to The Chronicle, councillor Tony Page, lead cllr for transport, said: "We are consulting on our transport strategy and are likely to be revising it, and once we have a better understanding of the current pandemic we will be looking to make changes later this year.

"The consultation remains until the end of August and we will consider changes to the strategy on a range of proposals.

"The simple talking about figures in a petition is the easy part – the hard challenge is delivering on this.

“Promoting safer walking and cycling as well as the transport strategy is big challenge but we are up for that, and we have already announced that the first change of initiative will be rolled out by the end of June.

"We are getting on with it."