Every £5,000 invested in building new cycle lanes only results in one extra commuter taking their bike to work, a new study has suggested.

The Department for Transport has pledged to spend £2 billion on cycle lanes across the country over the next five years in a bid to encourage people to ditch their cars.

It is hoped the radical programme will help cut pollution in our towns and cities, while also encouraging people to get fit.

But critics claim the plans are causing chaos for motorists who are being caught up in gridlock, while many cycle lanes remain empty.

Now an academic study has attempted to quantify how successful the schemes have been in encouraging people to get on their bikes.

Researchers from the Economics And Human Biology journal have estimated that so far it is costing the Government £6,153 for each new cyclist in inner London and £4,174 in other areas.

The study also estimated that if current Government spending on cycle schemes continues for the next ten years there will only be a one per cent increase in the number of people cycling to work.

Researchers looked at census figures on cycling from 2001 and 2011 and linked them to the sums invested in cycling infrastructure during the intervening period.

The report also examined the current cycle lane building programme which has been welcomed by those who have taken up cycling during lockdown.

Critics have suggested the investment in cycling networks has been at the expense of other road users who pay large amounts in road tax each year.

It is also not clear how many people who have been cycling to work during lockdown will return to their cars once the pandemic is over.

Data shows that Britain has one of the lowest rates in Europe of commuters cycling to work, with just three per cent opting for two wheels.

The equivalent figures for Germany and Denmark are nine per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

Dr Adam Martin, an academic at Leeds University and the main author of the report, said: "The figure of three per cent has been steady for decades."