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

  • Millions of people across the country will benefit from healthier and free domestic flights to boost air quality and people’s physical and mental health
  • The ‘golden age’ of cycling and walking has been catalyzed by a £200m government investment, with Active Travel England overseeing 134 ambitious projects – part of a £2bn 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 the £200m government funding for new walking and cycling schemes across England announced today (May 14, 2022).

New government executive agency Active Travel England, led by Chris Boardman, will oversee the delivery of 134 Class A schemes, backed by £161m, which include new pedestrian, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings across 46 local authorities outside London.

The projects will create new roads and improve existing ones, making it easier and cheaper for people to choose active and green ways to get around while better connecting communities. These include new intersections and pedestrian crossings in Liverpool, separate new bike lanes across the North East and a new ‘travel lane’ in Gloucestershire with reduced traffic and higher quality bike routes.

In addition to the £161 million for the 134 local authority schemes, 19 authorities – including in Nottinghamshire, Hull and Manchester – will also receive a £1.5 million stake for ‘mini-Holland’ feasibility studies, to assess how these areas can be pedestrian and bicycle friendly. Like the equivalent in the Dutch city.

The government also confirmed it would pump £35m into improving the quality, safety and accessibility of the National Cycling Network, a UK-wide network of trails and walking routes for walking, cycling or cycling that is run by independent charity Sustrans. The new funding will see the 44 off-road sections of the grid upgraded to ensure its durability for years to come.

Up to £8m is being directed towards a new program to accelerate e-course uptake by offering short and long-term e-course loans. The pilot scheme, which will be delivered by Cycling UK, was launched earlier this week in Greater Manchester and will be hugely beneficial in enabling those with longer or more cycling trips to access employment opportunities in a way that is not only affordable Reasonable but easier, faster and better for our planet.

The latest £200m is part of the unprecedented £2bn for cycling and walking that the Prime Minister announced in 2020. Previous tranches of funds have already made hundreds of schemes and cycling rose nearly 50% in 2020 to year 2021. Active Travel England was set up to maintain budget and ensure schemes were delivered to higher new standards set in 2020.

Transportation Secretary Trudy Harrison said:

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

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

Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said:

This is all about enabling people to leave their cars at home and enjoy local excursions on foot or by bike. Active Travel England will make sure there are high quality cycling, cycling and walking spaces across England, creating better streets, happier school operations and healthier and more enjoyable journeys to work and the shops.

£2 million will also go towards Big Bike Revival events in the UK – free events to help people start or return to cycling through bike repair, teaching skills and riding driving. People across the country will be able to attend events with their bikes and receive basic servicing or learn how to repair their bikes in a workshop. They will also be able to learn to ride a bike from a beginner level or join a ride to increase their confidence.

People who travel in and around Hope Valley in the heart of the Peak District National Park will be able to do so by public transport, cycling or walking instead of by car thanks to funding confirmed today of £120,000. Hope Valley Climate Action’s Travel Light Project will benefit the entire state by leading the way in decarbonizing rural travel and giving local residents and visitors more options to benefit from their health, as well as preserve the beauty of the national park.

The government is also continuing to ensure that cycling is available to all with its Wheels for Wellbeing funding. An additional £75,000 will be allocated to support DfT’s active travel team to implement the gear change, with benefits reaching people with disabilities. Wheels for Wellbeing will also coordinate an expert panel on Inclusive Cycling and develop an image set of Inclusive Cycling images.

Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans, a charity that makes it easier for people to walk, drive and bike, said:

As custodians of the National Bicycle Network, we are pleased that the government continues to invest in these vibrant and beloved walking and cycling trails.

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

The network is a locally loved national asset and continued investment will strengthen our work with partners and stakeholders across the UK. Together, we reimagine the ways we move, empowering people to connect with others and helping everyone explore our shared environments.

It all comes after the launch of the new government body for cycling and walking, Active Travel England, earlier this year.

Active Travel England is already fulfilling its ambitions to raise the bar for cycling and walking infrastructure across the country and to make walking and cycling the easiest option for local trips.

Leave a Comment