A family cycling through a park

Active travel boosted by significant government funding

The Department for Transport has announced that there is to be a significant funding boost to support improvements to active travel, as well as local economies.

Local authorities across England are being invited to apply for a share off £200 million worth of funding to enable improvements to be made to active travel provision, increasing the amount of choice that people have. These improvements could include the creation of more paths in rural areas, developing safer walking routes as children travel to school, and improved safety at junctions for those walking and cycling.

The funding is also available to make street designs more inclusive to support those in wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, 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 health way to get around.”

Residents and businesses will be consulted regarding any projects, ensuring that they are safe and effective for communities. The government has also developed guidance to help local authorities as they plan their active travel schemes, making sure that they are well-designed and to a high standard.

Sustrans, a walking and active travel charity, has said that active generated an estimated £36.5 billion for the UK economy in 2021 thanks to increased spending on high streets, a reduce in the pressure being put on the NHS and better access to jobs. Up to 16 million additional walking and cycling trips could be generated by the investment announced today.

Chris Boardman, Active Travel Commissioner, 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 hem deliver those options.”

One of the key parts of the plans that local authorities will need to submit, is to show that they are taking the safety of women into account, with one in two women feeling unsafe walking after dark.

Successful projects are to be announced later this year.

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