Open active travel fund returns to Scotland for third year
Posted: 2 June 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
The £2 million Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund to increase walking, cycling and sustainable travel has been announced for a third year in Scotland.
Paths for All, a Scottish charity, has announced that its ‘Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund’ is now open to applications after being allocated funding from the Scottish government’s active travel budget for 2020/21.
As well as supporting projects that aim to promote walking, cycling and public transport, this year’s Fund will also support organisations to increase home working opportunities for their staff.
Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 are available and need to be match funded by public, community and third sector organisations who want to encourage healthier and greener travel choices.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said: “The Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund continues to support innovative behavioural change projects which encourage active and travel choices.
“I’m pleased we have previously provided £4.3 million through Paths for All in the first two years of the Open Fund, supporting 177 projects right across Scotland.
“This year, the Open Fund takes place in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the scheme has evolved to support our Transport Transition Plan – including seeking to provide incentives for working at home, in addition to active travel projects, in order to help manage demand on Scotland’s public transport network.
“We’ve seen increased rates of walking and cycling in recent months, coupled with improved air quality in our towns and cities. The Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund, which includes expert management and support from Paths for All, will help organisations that want to support this shift to more sustainable travel behaviour as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Ian Findlay CBE, Paths for All Chief Officer, added: “For the past two years, the Open Fund has made it possible for hundreds of organisations and community groups of all shapes and sizes to start projects which encourage healthier, more sustainable ways to travel.
“It’s fantastic to see this third round of funding coming right at this time when we have all been reminded of the importance of walking and cycling not just for our physical health, but what it can do to boost our mental health in times of anxiety.
“I’m especially pleased to see that, for the first time and as we move slowly to a ‘new normal’, we’ll be helping organisations to embrace home working, cutting down the need for employees to make that daily commute and play their part in reducing emissions.
“Our team here at Paths for All are excited to welcome applicants and we’ll continue to support them to help create a happier, healthier Scotland.”