The Government says a new £200 million investment in walking and cycling will help galvanise a ‘golden age’ of active travel.
Announced on 14 May, the funding will be overseen by the Government’s new executive agency Active Travel England.
The majority of the funding – some £161 million – is being spent to deliver 134 ‘first-rate’ schemes, which include new footways, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings. In total, 46 local authorities will benefit from a share of this funding.
In addition, 19 authorities – including in Nottinghamshire, Hull and Manchester – will receive a share of £1.5 million for ‘mini-Holland’ feasibility studies, to assess how the areas could be as pedestrian and cycle-friendly as their Dutch city equivalents.
Trudy Harrison, transport minister, said: “This multi million-pound investment will ensure people right across the country can access cheap, healthy and zero-emission travel.
“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.”
Funding boost for National Cycle Network
The wide-ranging funding forms part of the Government’s £2 billion commitment to active travel, announced in 2020.
Its overriding aim is to help millions of people across the country ‘benefit from cleaner air and cheaper ways to travel and keep active’.
Among the other beneficiaries is the National Cycle Network, a UK-wide network of paths and routes managed by the charity Sustrans.
A £35 million investment will see 44 off-road-sections of the network upgraded to ensure their future for years to come.
Xavier Brice, chief executive officer of 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.”
There is also up to £8 million in funding for a new programme to accelerate the uptake of e-cycles, by offering short and long-term loans.
The pilot scheme, delivered by Cycling UK, launched earlier this month in Greater Manchester.
Cycling UK’s Bike Bike Revival scheme also benefits from £2 million. Through the scheme, free events are organised to help people start or return to cycling by fixing bikes, teaching skills and leading rides.