here is the speech in full
...I particularly want to thank certain councillors whose support was crucial, especially Michael Harrison, Don Mackenzie and Heather Garnett, and Sir Thomas Ingilby of Ripley Castle who has always supported the principle of the Greenway. A few council officers, not least Dan McAndrew, countryside ranger officer for Harrogate, and Martin Parker, project leader for North Yorkshire, played a key part. As a campaigner I have to say the lack of enthusiasm of some officers at times very nearly defeated us. When I first got involved we had to overcome outright hostility from officers who couldn’t get us out of County Hall fast enough and made us wonder, half seriously, if they were in league with the opposition. We then faced a change from a local transport plan which gave recreational routes like this high priority to one where they had very low priority and little chance of funding. All too often correspondence goes unanswered and officers need to be chased again and again. North Yorkshire continues to refuse to appoint a cycling officer, as it did before recent budget cuts were a factor. The County still seems to me no more than a reluctant partner with Sustrans. It needs to become a truly enthusiastic partner if its stated ambition ‘to be recognised as a great region for safe cycling, inspiring more people to cycle more often’ is to be more than just fine words on paper.
A huge thank you to those, some here today, who contributed to my fundraising effort several years ago which has at last helped produce this brilliant result. But above all I want to thank Sustrans, a fantastic organisation which has fought for this route since the mid 90’s and funded it with Big Lottery money. Sustrans has built over 14,000 miles of the National Cycle Network of which this is part. If you want to support a superb charity working for sustainable transport, with your money and/or your time, I can’t recommend Sustrans strongly enough.
Ideally Sustrans shouldn’t be needed, though it most certainly is. In Holland, Denmark or in Belgium where Gia and I have just been cycling, Governments provide a wonderful network of safe cycle paths. It’s fabulous. In the towns and cities thousands of people bike to school, university, work, shops and cafes. There is no good reason why the UK shouldn’t have a cycle infrastructure which enables us to do the same. In terms of our transport policy we are in the Dark Ages. We need a new approach which serves the community as whole – pedestrians, cyclists, the many who don’t drive as much as those who do. And to protect our environment there must be incentives to avoid using vehicles except when necessary. Government, most local authorities and indeed many people in this country sadly still don’t get it. I’ve no doubt they will, but how much longer do we have to wait?
After Malcolm's speech and the tape cutting, we cycled down to Ripley for fun and stalls in the Carpark I ran into Jo Armstrong it's the bike festival this Sunday, get down there it will be grand.
We also got details recently of the LSTF schemes that North Yorkshire are proposing for cycle improvements in Harrogate there is a lot of detail lots of joining the dots relatively small schemes, but its all good stuff the detail is here sorry its a weighty download but if you ride round town its worth a look.
There are moves in the pipeline for parking ticket monies to be invested in sustainable transport by North Yorkshire County Council. there are a few options being mooted. One is to pay for the Beryl Burton upgrade which I thought had been promised out of existing money but what do I know? The other Otley Road and Cardale park. Anyway more detail here if you want it.
Next up on the radar is a physical legacy for the tour. Gary Verity Welcome to Yorkshire's main man wants every kid to have access to a bike. Nothing wrong with that but I think it sets the bar too low. How about access to a bike and somewhere safe to bride them? For Harrogate traffic free to Spoforth and the rest of Sustrans network is what we want. There are existing schemes in place we just need some support from our politicians and the movers and shakers. I think I might start bending Mr Verity's twitter ear next.
Well that's about it for now, sorry it took me a month to write anything.