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£175 million more for cycling and walking as research shows public support

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175 million more for cycling and walking as research shows public support

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News , Political News

cycle path

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has given councils across England a further £175 million to build high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure across England to make local journeys safer for all. The money is part of the £2 billion package announced by the government in May to create a new era for active transport.

The announcement was made following a survey that revealed nearly 8 out of 10 people support measures to reduce road traffic in their neighbourhood, and two-thirds of people support reallocating road space for walking and cycling

The money will fund measures 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
These new measures will give people more opportunities to choose cycling and walking for their day-to-day journeys, as part of wider government plans to boost active travel.

However, the Transport Secretary has set tough new conditions on councils receiving funding, requiring them to ensure schemes are properly consulted on. This will help avoid the problems seen in a minority of the schemes developed in the first round of funding. If these conditions are not met by a council, the Transport Secretary has been clear that future funding allocations will be reduced and claw-backs could also be imposed.

The funding comes as a survey undertaken by Kantar Media last month reveals that 65% of people across England support reallocating road space to cycling and walking in their local area. Nearly 8 out of 10 people (78%) support measures to reduce road traffic in their neighbourhood.

In London, independent polling by Redfield & Wilton shows 19% of people oppose LTNs, 52% support them and 25% are neutral. Surveys are also being conducted of residents in individual LTNs where roads have been closed. The first of these, in south London, found 56% wanted to keep the scheme, against 38% who wanted to remove it.

The multi-million-pound investment marks another step towards the government's ambition to deliver more active travel options in communities across the country and build back greener - benefitting the nation's health and the environment.

Evaluation of early School Streets projects has shown traffic outside schools has reduced on average by 68%, children cycling to school has increased by 51% and harmful vehicle pollution outside schools is down by almost three quarters.

Greater Manchester's Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman said:

"Making it easier for people to get about on foot and by bike is the single best investment that councils can make because it doesn't just address transport. Time and again, evidence shows that communities that prioritise cycling and walking enjoy major benefits - cleaner air, less congestion, improved health, and even a bigger average monthly spend at local shops and restaurants. Most importantly, it makes our streets happier places to be.

I wholeheartedly support the government's continued funding of this crucial work. The emphasis on more consultation is welcome too, so that we can ensure the best solutions are put in the right locations. If we get this right, many of these pop-up routes and low-traffic neighbourhoods will become a permanent and valued part of people's daily lives. The industrial revolution started in Great Britain; now we should lead the green revolution."

Councils will receive funding based on how well they have complied with the criteria set out by the Transport Secretary in July.

The funding is part of the most ambitious plans yet by government to encourage even more people to choose active travel and build back greener.

Commitments from the plan include making cycle training available for every adult who wants it, setting new, higher standards for cycling infrastructure and boosting access to e-bikes.

As well as promoting active travel, the government is committed to ensuring all journeys are safe and reliable, including for motorists. As part of this, it is moving ahead with significant plans for road upgrades across the country.

£27.4 billion is being invested over the next 5 years through Highways England's roads plan to ensure the road network is fit for the future and safe, reliable and efficient for drivers and businesses.


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