Active Travel England (ATE) is inviting local authorities to bid for a share of a £200m fund to improve infrastructure to encourage active travel.
The executive agency will award funding for a range of schemes including: paths in rural areas; safer routes for children to walk to school; improved safety at junctions for people walking and cycling; and better street designs for people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Projects will be designed in consultation with residents and businesses to ensure schemes are safe and work for local communities, said ATE. The successful projects will be announced later this year.
Active travel generated £36.5bn for the economy in 2021 through increased spending on high streets, reduced pressure on the NHS and better access to jobs, according to walking and cycling charity Sustrans.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “This £200m investment for hundreds of upgraded routes and paths across the country will help to reduce emissions, boost local economies and create jobs.
“Previous funding rounds saw a new cycle lane built in Coventry which generated 10,000 trips in its first month and a new walking and cycling route in Manchester, where people travelling on foot and by bike are separated from motor vehicles.”
Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said: “The funding could see more young people choosing a healthier and greener way to travel from home to the classroom. With less than half of children aged 5 to 16 walking or cycling to school, this investment aims to boost uptake. The Government’s objective is to enable 55% of all primary school children to walk to school by 2025.
“Studies show that one in two women feel unsafe walking after dark in a quiet street near their home. Local authorities will also need to show that their proposed schemes take women’s safety into account.”
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