COUNCILLOR Alan Amos has said the council is “pro-cycling” after defending a bid for more government money as “extensive and exciting.”

Councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member for highways at Worcestershire County Council, faced criticism for a bid submitted to the government earlier this month asking for money to improve cycling and walking in the county but defended the bid saying it was “full, extensive and exciting” and the council had always been “pro-cycling.”

Cllr Amos said it would be “highly irresponsible” to ignore government and council data on cycling and repeated the much-contested figure that only one per cent of people in Worcestershire cycled.

Cllr Amos he was “letting the facts speak for themselves” and rejected the “misinformation” put forward by some groups about the number of cyclists.

“I know for some they may be an inconvenient truth but truth they are,” he told councillors at a virtual cabinet meeting on Thursday (June 25).

“If closing road cuts congestion, I can assure you that I would have been the first to adopt this panacea years ago as it would have my job much easier.”

County MPs, councillors and campaigners had all called for greater investment in cycling with campaigners Bike Worcester dismissing the bid completely.

The campaign group said the bid should have been used to create extra space on the roads for cyclists – including pop-up cycle lanes, pavement widening, safer junctions and bus-and-bike-only areas - but the bid was “inadequate” and had "entirely missed the point" of the funding.

Cllr Amos said the council already had 34 schemes, including some multi-million-pound projects, which are looking to improve walking and cycling around the county including the new Kepax bridge from Gheluvelt Park in Worcester.

Cllr Amos also pointed to new schemes such as the Broomhall Way bridge across the A4440 in Worcester as well as planned improvements to routes between Blackpole and Fernhill Heath and Diglis as “only the beginning of the story.”

“The county council wholeheartedly supports active travel not because of any recent government letter because it has always been our policy to do so as demonstrated by our actions,” he said.

“We support all forms of transport, unlike some, we are pro-car but also pro-cycling and walking and pro-bus.

"Improving our road network is not in conflict with improving our cycle network. Indeed, they go hand-in-hand. The more roads we get, the more walking and cycling facilities we will get as well.”

Cllr Amos said the council had also made two more bids for government money which would improve cycling including a demand-led bus service trial for rural communities and villages.