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DfT releases first £45m of £250m fund

01 June 2020

Local authorities in England this week received notification of their indicative allocations from the first £45m of the DfT’s £250m budget for active travel schemes. 

Of the total £250m, £225m is being provided directly to local transport authorities and London boroughs, while £25m will help support cycle repair schemes.

The £225m for local authorities will be released in two phases. The first tranche of £45m will be released as soon as possible so that work can begin at pace on closing roads to through traffic, installing segregated cycle lanes and widening pavements.

In a letter to councils, Rupert Furness, the DfT’s deputy director for active and accessible travel, says: “The main purpose of the initial funding is to promote cycling as a replacement for journeys previously made by public transport. Funding is therefore weighted towards areas which until the crisis had high levels of public transport use, especially for short and local journeys, which can now be cycled.”

The payments to councils are indicative. “To receive any money under this or future tranches, you will need to show us that you have swift and meaningful plans to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians, including on strategic corridors,” says Furness.

“The quickest and cheapest way of achieving this will normally be point closures. These can be of certain main roads (with exceptions for buses, access and disabled people, and with other main roads kept free for through motor traffic); or of parallel side streets, if sufficiently direct to provide alternatives to the main road. Point closures can also be used to create low-traffic filtered neighbourhoods.

“Pop-up segregated cycle lanes will also be funded, but are likely to be more difficult to implement quickly. As the guidance states, they must use full or light segregation. We will also fund the swift implementation, using temporary materials, of existing cycle plans that involve the meaningful reallocation of road space.

“We expect all these measures to be delivered quickly using temporary materials, such as barriers and planters. Elaborate, costly materials will not be funded at this stage. Anything that does not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded. 

“As the guidance makes clear, 20mph zones can form part of a package of measures, but will not be sufficient on their own.

“If work has not started within four weeks of receiving your allocation under this tranche of funding, or has not been completed within eight weeks of starting, the Department will reserve the right to claw the funding back by adjusting downwards a future grant payment to your authority. This will have a material impact on your ability to secure any funding in tranche 2.”

The second tranche of £180m will be released later in the summer to enable authorities to install further, more permanent measures to cement cycling and walking habits. Where applicable, this will enable local authorities to implement schemes already planned in Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs).”     

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