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Up Yours Keith Hill…

Great news! The government has welcomed the decision to continue
with the Festival of Cycling in June. How wonderful is that? How
special that the government, which, with its continuing slavish
commitment to a discredited slaughter policy and utter indifference
to the plight of the outdoors and tourist industries generally, is
welcoming action by someone else.

Wouldn’t it be great if Keith Hill and his colleagues actually did
more than pay lip service to the fact that tourism and other leisure
industries are worth vastly more to this country’s economy than
farming?

If you think the countryside’s open Mr Keith Hill, come up to the
Peak District and take a look at the signs and disinfectant stations
around Derwent Water and the tapes blocking 99 per-cent of public
rights of way when there isn’t a single case of foot and mouth in the
Peak, then bugger off back to Westminster and your political
games.

Below is the full text of the release:

Transport Minister Keith Hill commented today on the decision
taken by the Festival of Cycling 2001 liaison Group to proceed with
this years nationwide celebration of cycling.

From 16th-24th June up to 1,200 events are expected to take place
across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Details will be
promoted on the Festival of Cycling website at www.cyclingfestival.org.uk

Keith Hill said: “I welcome the positive stance taken by cycling
organisations to proceed with the Festival of Cycling.

‘The Government’s first priority is to eradicate the foot and
mouth disease as soon as possible. Its effects are very serious for
both farmers and the wider rural community and we are working
urgently to develop and implement measures to alleviate these
impacts.

‘However, people wrongly believe that the whole countryside is out
of bounds. There are large parts of the country which are not
affected. The best way to help rural businesses, especially those
which rely on tourism, is by encouraging their customers to return as
quickly as possible to the many places where it is safe to do so.

‘The majority of the country’s visitor attractions are open, and
many sporting and other events are taking place. It is important that
we all play our part in supporting them. Provided people abide by the
rules currently in place for visiting the countryside, I am certain
that the contribution cyclists can make to the rural economy will be
welcomed in many areas.

We fully support cycling across the country. Leisure and
recreational cycling underpins all other cycling activity, and is
therefore crucial to any sustainable transport system. I recognise
that there are many cycling businesses, such as cycle hire centres
and rural bike shops, which are amongst the businesses currently
suffering. Any measures that can be taken to aid their survival
through this difficult period are welcome. I am therefore happy that
this important cycling promotion is going ahead.”

*The Festival of Cycling 2001 Liaison Group has ten member
organisations:

Association of Cycle Traders, Bicycle Association, British Cycling
Federation, British Schools Cycling Association, Consortium of
Bicycle Retailers, CTC, Cycle Campaign Network, Cycling Time Trials,
National TravelWise Association, Sustrans.

Issued on behalf of the Festival of Cycling 2001 Liaison Group by
Nick Harvey.

Email HQ@cyclingfestival.org.uk or phone 01243 543888 for more
information.

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