UK government allocates £200 million for cycling and walking schemes

Posted: 22 May 2023 | | No comments yet

In a bid to encourage healthier travel options, reduce emissions and boost economic growth, the £200 million funding will support cycling and walking schemes in 60 areas across England.

UK government allocates £200 million for cycling and walking schemes

The UK government has announced a £200 million funding allocation for cycling and walking schemes, set to benefit millions of people nationwide.

This latest round of funding aims to revitalise high streets and support local businesses while transforming the school run for tens of thousands of children. The initiative is projected to generate up to 16 million additional walking and cycling trips annually.

Following extensive consultations with local authorities, communities across England will receive the new funding, with over 265 schemes in 60 areas, including Yorkshire, Manchester, Devon and Leicester, sharing the latest round of funding.

The investment, which had been announced in February 2023, will support various projects across the nation. These include the development of 121 miles of new cycle tracks, 77 miles of new paths and greenways, and initiatives to enhance street safety around 130 schools.

Active travel is projected to inject a staggering £36.5 billion into the economy annually through increased spending on high streets and improved access to job opportunities, thereby fulfilling the government’s aim to foster economic growth.

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Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “We want to make sure everyone across the country can choose cheaper, greener and healthier travel while we continue to support our local businesses and grow the economy. This £200 million investment will improve road safety, ease congestion and ultimately improve the health and wellbeing of the millions of people choosing active travel.”

National Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said: “By giving millions of people the freedom of choice to walk, wheel or cycle for everyday trips, this funding will help us improve public health, tackle climate change, and give hundreds of thousands of children the independence to travel safely under their own steam. Now our focus is working with councils to get these schemes built swiftly.”

Matt Winfield, Executive Director for Sustrans England, Northern Ireland and Wales, said: “[The] allocation of previously committed active travel funding is, of course, welcome news for ambitious local authorities and we’re excited to see their transformational projects take shape. However, the devil is in the detail, as active travel funding cuts announced in March [2023] mean investment will plummet over the next two years.”

Winning projects have been selected based on their ability to provide appealing options for cycling and walking as local transportation choices. Notably, none of the selected schemes involved low-traffic neighbourhood initiatives. Local authorities collaborated closely with community members to ensure that the projects would benefit the entire community.

Improving safety and accessibility will be key priorities in the development of walking and cycling routes. This will include enhancing the safety of women and children walking to school, as well as designing streets to be more inclusive for individuals using wheelchairs and mobility scooters.