The Government has announced a further £175m for councils in England to create safe space for cycling and walking, alongside ‘tough new conditions’ requiring schemes to be properly consulted on.
The money, part of the £2bn announced for active travel in May, will fund initiatives including:
- School Streets – where streets around schools are closed to motorists at school times
- Low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) – where residential side streets are closed to through traffic to stop rat-running
- Segregated cycle lanes
- Pedestrian improvements
The Government hopes the funding will encourage more people to choose cycling and walking for their day-to-day journeys, as part of wider plans to boost active travel.
It points to the results of a study which suggests 65% of people across England support reallocating road space to cycling and walking in their local area – while 78% support measures to reduce road traffic in their neighbourhood.
Boris Johnson, prime minister, said: “We want to do everything we can to make it easy for people to include some activity in their daily routines – whether that’s cycling to work or walking safely to school.
“We can see the public’s strong appetite for greener and more active travel, and this funding will help ensure the right infrastructure is in place to build truly active neighbourhoods.”
Councils must develop schemes that ‘work for their communities’
Alongside the funding, transport secretary Grant Shapps has set out ‘tough new conditions’ for councils receiving cash, requiring them to ensure schemes are properly consulted on.
Under the conditions, councils must:
- Publish plans to show how they will consult their communities, including residents, businesses and emergency services, among others
- Show evidence of appropriate consultation prior to schemes being implemented
- Submit monitoring reports on the implementation of schemes 6-12 months after their opening, highlighting how schemes have been modified based on local feedback to ensure they work for communities
Mr Shapps says these steps will help avoid the problems seen in a minority of the schemes developed in the first round of funding.
In a letter to council leaders outlining the new funding allocations, Mr Shapps noted that while most schemes were of genuine value in promoting cycling and walking, other schemes implemented through the first tranche of funding had made ‘less meaningful change to the status quo’.
In particular he pointed to many of the pavement widenings in town centres which have been shown to “prevent pedestrians from crossing the road, cause congestion for buses and motor traffic, and impede access for kerbside businesses”.
Mr Shapps added that councils will receive funding based on how well they have complied with the criteria set out in July.
He said: “It has been great to see so many people build cycling and walking into their daily travel habits. To support them, we know it’s vital to have the right infrastructure in place so everyone – cyclists, pedestrians and motorists – can use our roads.
“Whether you’re walking, cycling, driving or using public transport, people must have the space they need to get around safely.”