Healthy, cost-effective travel for millions as walking and cycling projects get green light

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  • millions of people across the country will benefit from healthier, free local rides, which will improve air quality and people’s physical and mental health
  • The ‘golden age’ of cycling and walking galvanized by £200million government investment, with Active Travel England overseeing 134 ambitious projects – part of a £2billion commitment to active travel
  • the government continues to lead the world in tackling climate change, improving low-carbon infrastructure and growing local economies

Millions of people across the country will benefit from cleaner air and cheaper ways to travel and stay active, thanks to £200million of public funding for new walking and cycling programs across the country. England announced today (14th May 2022).

The government’s new executive agency, Active Travel England, led by Chris Boardman, will oversee the implementation of 134 world-class schemes, backed by £161million, which include new walkways, cycleways and crosswalks in 46 local authorities outside London.

The projects will create new routes and improve existing routes, making it easier and cheaper for people to choose active and green means of travel while better connecting communities. These include new junctions and pedestrian crossings in Liverpool, new segregated cycle lanes in the North East and a new ‘travel corridor’ in Gloucestershire with reduced traffic and high quality cycle lanes.

As well as £161m for the 134 local authority schemes, 19 authorities – including in Nottinghamshire, Hull and Manchester – will also receive a share of £1.5m for ‘mini-business’ feasibility studies. Holland”, to assess how the areas could be as pedestrian and cycle friendly as their Dutch urban counterparts.

The government has also confirmed that it will inject £35million to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of the National cycling network, a UK-wide network of trails and routes for walking, cycling or wheeling run by the independent charity Sustrans. The new funding will upgrade 44 off-road sections of the network to ensure their sustainability for years to come.

Up to £8million is being spent on a new scheme to accelerate the uptake of e-bikes by offering short and long-term e-bike loans. The pilot project, which will be implemented by Cycling United Kingdomlaunched earlier this week in Greater Manchester and will be hugely beneficial in enabling those with longer or hilly commutes to cycle and access job opportunities in a way that is not only more affordable, but also easier, faster and good for our planet.

The latest £200million is part of an unprecedented £2billion for cycling and walking announced by the Prime Minister in 2020. Previous installments of the money have already funded hundreds of projects and cycling increased by nearly 50% between 2020 and 2021. England was created to manage the budget and ensure programs are delivered to new, higher standards set in 2020.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said:

This multi-million pound investment will ensure people across the country have access to cheap, healthy and zero-emission travel.

Active Travel England will work hard to create a new golden age of walking and cycling, allowing everyone to enjoy the benefits of a more active lifestyle, creating streets where children can play and making places more enjoyable to live.

Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said:

It’s about allowing people to leave their car at home and enjoy local routes on foot or by bike. Active Travel England will ensure that high quality spaces for cycling, rolling and walking are provided in all parts of England, creating better streets, a happier school and healthier and more enjoyable journeys to work and shopping.

£2m will also go to The great revival of cycling in the UK – free events to help people start or resume cycling by fixing bikes, teaching skills and leading rides. Across the country, people will be able to show up to events with their bikes and receive basic service or learn how to repair their own bikes at a workshop. They can also learn to ride a bike from the beginner level or participate in a ride to boost their confidence.

People traveling to and around Hope Valley in the heart of the Peak District National Park will be able to do so by public transport, bike or on foot rather than by car thanks to £120,000 funding also confirmed today. Hope Valley Climate Action’s Traveling Light Project will benefit the whole country by paving the way to decarbonize rural travel and provide local residents and visitors with more options for their health, while preserving the beauty of the national park.

The government also continues to ensure that cycling is accessible to all by funding Wheels for well-being. A further £75,000 will be used to support DfT’s Active Travel team to implement the shift, so its benefits reach people with disabilities. Wheels for Wellbeing will also coordinate a panel of experts on inclusive cycling and develop a photo bank of inclusive cycling images.

Xavier Brice, Managing Director of Sustrans, the association that facilitates walking, wheeling and cycling, said:

As stewards of the National Cycling Network, we are delighted that the government continues to invest in these vital and much-loved walking, cycling and cycling routes.

This funding will see improvements to the network in England, connecting cities, towns and countryside, making walking, cycling and cycling a safer, more convenient and more accessible travel option for everyone.

The network is a national asset that is valued locally and continued investment will advance our work with partners and stakeholders across the UK. Together, we’re reimagining the ways we move, enabling people to connect with others and helping everyone explore our shared environments.

This all follows the launch of the new government cycling and walking body, Active Travel England, earlier this year.

Active Travel England is already delivering on its ambitions to raise the standards of cycling and walking infrastructure across the country and to make walking and cycling the easiest choice for local travel.

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