DfT funding of £200m for active travel schemes across England was announced on 14 May. The Government’s new executive agency Active Travel England (ATE), led by Chris Boardman, will oversee the delivery of 134 “first-rate schemes”, backed by £161m, which include new footways, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings across 46 local authorities outside London.
The projects will create new routes and improve existing ones, making it easier and cheaper for people to choose active and green ways of getting around while better connecting communities. These include new junctions and pedestrian crossings in Liverpool, new segregated cycle lanes across the North East, and a new “travel corridor” in Gloucestershire with reduced traffic and high-quality cycle routes.
In addition to the £161m, 19 authorities - including in Nottinghamshire, Hull and Manchester - will also receive a share of £1.5m for “mini-Holland” feasibility studies, to assess how the areas could be as pedestrian and cycle-friendly as their Dutch city equivalents.
The Government has also pledged £35m to improving the quality, safety and accessibility of the National Cycle Network (NCN), the UK-wide network of paths and routes for walking, cycling or wheeling managed by the charity Sustrans. The new funding will see 44 off-road-sections of the NCN upgraded to ensure they endure for years to come.
Up to £8m is going towards a new programme to accelerate the uptake of e-cycles by offering short and long-term loans of e-cycles. The pilot scheme, which will be delivered by Cycling UK, will seek to help those with longer or hillier journeys to cycle and access employment opportunities in a way that’s not only more affordable but is easier, faster and good for our planet.
£2m will also go towards Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival - free events to help people start or return to cycling by fixing bikes, teaching skills and leading rides. People across the country will be able to turn up at events with their bikes and receive a basic service or learn to repair their own bikes at a workshop. They will also be able to learn to ride a bike from beginner level or join a ride to increase their confidence.
The Government is also continuing to ensure cycling is available to all by funding Wheels for Wellbeing. An additional £75,000 will go towards a programme of inclusive cycling sessions for disabled people and their families, carers or friends, helping to remove barriers to cycling faced by disabled people.
The £200m is part of the £2bn for cycling and walking announced by the prime minister Boris Johnson in 2020. Earlier tranches of the money have already delivered hundreds of schemes and cycling rose by almost 50% in 2020-21. ATE has been established to hold the budget and ensure that schemes are delivered to the new, higher standards set out in 2020.
Transport minister Trudy Harrison said: “Active Travel England will be working hard to create a new golden age of walking and cycling, enabling everyone to reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle, creating streets where children can play, and making nicer places to live.”
Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said: “This is all about enabling people to leave their cars at home and enjoy local journeys on foot or by bike. Active Travel England is going to make sure high-quality spaces for cycling, wheeling and walking are delivered across all parts of England, creating better streets, a happier school run and healthier, more pleasant journeys to work and the shops.”
Xavier Brice, chief executive of the charity Sustrans, said: “As custodians of the National Cycle Network, we’re delighted that the Government is continuing to invest in these vital and much-loved walking, wheeling and cycling routes.
“This funding will see improvements made to the Network in England; connecting cities, towns and the countryside; making walking, wheeling and cycling a safer, more convenient and more accessible travel option for everyone.
“The Network is a national asset that is loved locally, and continued investment will advance our work with partners and stakeholders across the UK. Together, we’re reimagining the ways in which we move around, empowering people to connect with others and helping everyone explore our shared environments.”
More details will be announced at Cycling City Active City
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