£200 million to improve walking and cycling routes and boost local economies
Communities / Tue 7th Feb 2023 at 09:21am
SCHOOLS, high streets and main roads will benefit from improved crossings and junctions to support walking and cycling, reduce emissions and boost local economies, thanks to a £200 million fund announced today (6 February).
Active Travel England is today inviting local authorities in England to apply for funding to make improvements to enable people to choose active travel, which can help them save money and stay healthy. Schemes could include creating more paths in rural areas, developing safer routes for children to walk to school, and improved safety at junctions for people walking and cycling. Funding will also be used to support people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters by making street designs more inclusive.
Projects will be designed in consultation with residents and businesses to ensure schemes are safe and work for local communities, and the successful projects will be announced later this year. Guidance has been created to help local authorities develop active travel schemes that are well-designed and completed to a high standard.
Walking and cycling charity Sustrans has estimated that active travel generated £36.5 billion for the economy in 2021 through increased spending on high streets, reduced pressure on the NHS and better access to jobs. This investment could also generate up to 16 million additional walking and cycling trips a year.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:
“This £200 million investment for hundreds of upgraded routes and paths across the country will help to reduce emissions, boost local economies, and create jobs.
“These new schemes will make it safer for children to walk to school and will better connect rural communities, helping more people choose active travel as an affordable and healthy way to get around.”
Previous funding rounds saw a new cycle lane built in Coventry which generated 10,000 trips in its first month and a new walking and cycling route in Manchester where people travelling on foot and by bike are separated from motor vehicles.
Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said:
“Active travel is convenient, cheap, low carbon and health-giving. It’s a choice we need to make sure everyone has. Sometimes it only takes relatively small changes, such as crossings on school routes or convenient places to park a bike, to give us the option to walk, wheel or ride.
“Our job is to help local authorities across the country ensure that everyone has more attractive options for their daily trips and we are excited to help them deliver those options.”
The funding could see more young people choosing a healthier and greener way to travel from home to the classroom. With less than half of children aged 5 to 16 walking or cycling to school, this investment aims to boost uptake. The government’s objective is to enable 55% of all primary school children to walk to school by 2025.
Studies show that one in two women feel unsafe walking after dark in a quiet street near their home. Local authorities will also need to show that their proposed schemes take women’s safety into account.
Good idea, this could get people out of their cars and get some well needed exercise.
200 million is £238 per km to resurface the existing tracks that are mostly in a poor condition. It's a fop to stop the real switch that's needed. We need new routes that interconnect with old routes and networks that don't dump cyclists on to busy roads. Additionally if there were many more secure parking units for bikes: what puts many people off cycling these days is the very high risk of having your bike stolen. Compare with the £16 billion for road building projects that have been identified by experts as superfluous or highly damaging it's clear the government doesn't understand how to switch to a greener more efficient transport system that could improve the quality of life in the UK
The £200 million is a nationwide pot. Harlow will have to submit a bid to get some of this money and there is no guarantee of suçcess. The Conservative way is to dish out public funds to those areas that they are interested in electorally, not according to need. Hence pots of money for Sunak's very wealthy constituency.
When this town was built, they used underpasses to separate walkers and cyclists from the traffic. This thinking has been replaced by zebra crossing and traffic lights. It’s no wonder the system is a mess.
More money splunked away!
I speak as a life long cyclists, and a long distance cyclists. Harlow cycle tracks have been in a hell of a state for years, under labour and under conservatives. Theses tracks don't go anywhere, but place you on main roads,when they end. You should be able to get from A to B, with out hitting roads. So there for, you have to fix both, roads and cycle track s, other wise your defeating the object. At the moment cycle tracks are dangerous walking on them let alone cycling . You will not get people cycling if theses roads and cycle tracks and lay out of them are not fixed. And just for the record the underpasses came much later after Harlow was built. I remember the old swimming pool underpass being built.