The Government says its long-term commitment to cycling ‘could not be clearer’, as it sets out a new multi-billion pound vision to make everyday journeys ‘easier, greener and more convenient’.
In a statement to Parliament on 11 February, Boris Johnson announced £5bn of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London.
The funding will be used to create 250 miles of ‘high-quality separated cycle routes’ – built to ‘tough new design standards’ – while there is also a focus on improving safety at junctions.
Dozens of new ‘Mini-Holland’ schemes will be taken forward, in a bid to ‘transform town centres’ and make side streets ‘safer to walk, cycle and play in’.
Mini-Holland schemes – which have already been introduced in parts of London – incorporate various road design features, including segregated cycle lanes at junctions, to make riders feel safer and more convenient.
Meanwhile, bus services across the country will be transformed with ‘simpler fares, thousands of new buses, improved routes and higher frequencies’.
Boris Johnson, prime minister, said: “Local transport connections have a truly transformative role to play in levelling up infrastructure across the country.
“Our daily journeys for work or leisure are about so much more than just getting from A to B – they are the key to accessing skilled jobs and opportunities, boosting businesses and unlocking economic growth for towns, cities and regions across this country.
“That’s why improving connectivity by overhauling bus services and making cycling easier than ever is such an important step forward, to make sure every community has the foundations it needs to thrive.”
Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “We want everyone across this country to have the transport services they need to improve their lives and opportunities – to do that, we must invest in the here and now.
“Through today’s buses funding we’ll be bringing about a transformation in bus services to every community, speeding up journeys and capping fares to make high-quality services the norm.
“Our long-term commitment to cycling could not be clearer, with money for new routes, more cyclist support and new ‘Mini-Holland’ schemes, set to make our streets the safest they have been for cyclists.”
‘Foundation for a brighter walking and cycling future’
The announcement has been welcomed by a coalition of active travel groups.
The Walking and Cycling Alliance, which comprises British Cycling, Cycling UK, Sustrans, Ramblers, the Bike Association and Living Streets, says the promise of long-term funding comes at ‘exactly the right time’.
In a statement, it said: “It has never been more important to make it easier to walk and cycle – to tackle climate change, poor air-quality, crippling congestion, and the mental and physical health of the nation.
“The evidence is clear and people want to do it, what has been lacking is the investment and ambition to make it safe and easy for everyone.
“The emphasis on quality infrastructure is to be applauded, and we look forward to working with national and local government, and communities across the country to ensure that this investment is the start of a real transformation in how we get around.”