Has taxpayer funded NHS QUANGO The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) exceeded its remit to become The National Institute for Social Engineering (NISE)?
NICE have issued draft guidelines aimed at prioritising cycling, walking and public transport for new roads as part of a consultation about encouraging physical activity (1), (2). There’s nothing new in much of what is being proposed. Indeed, it repeats the ‘Ivory Tower’ thinking we’ve come to expect from academics who are often socially and financially insulated from reality.
Transport isn’t an Olympic sport – it’s about moving goods and people around the UK for vital socioeconomic reasons by modes that are practical or fit for purpose. Cycling can never be as safe as being a driver or passenger in a 5-star safety rated car. Drivers don’t tend to fall off their cars, but the 2014 NHS Cycling Safety Special Report showed that 248 Cyclists were Killed or Injured in 2012 with no other vehicles involved (3). And how does encouraging people to take public transport, a sedentary mode of transport, help exactly?
ABD Spokesman Paul Biggs said: “Hindering economically vital road transport in the vain hope that some people might want to walk or cycle more is a fools recipe in an age when the provision of local amenities isn’t keeping pace with housing development. Any improvements to the likes of cycling infrastructure shouldn’t be at the expense of road transport. If NICE wants to do more to help the improve people’s health encouraging them to take fewer flights might assist, and we suggest they curtail the £189,000 of taxpayer’s money that they have spent on air travel since 2015 via 863 flights” (4).
NICE have apparently turned into an organisation that feels capable of commenting on all kinds of matters outside its sphere of expertise. We suggest they stick to their own knitting.
Notes for Editors
(1) NICE: New roads should prioritise cyclists and pedestrians
(2) NICE Consultation: Physical activity: encouraging activity in the general population
(3) NHS News analysis: Cycling safety special report
(4) Taxpayers’ Alliance Report: NHS Quango Flights