- Swindon to receive an extra £731,500 to boost cycling and walking infrastructure
- The Active Travel Fund is designed to create safe space for cycling and walking
- Part of the Government’s £2 billion investment into cycling and walking
Swindon MPs Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland have welcomed news that Swindon is set to receive an additional £731,500 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund – designed to create safe space for cycling and walking.
The money will be provided to the local council and could be used to fund measures such as School Streets, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and segregated cycle lanes. In total, £175 million is being allocated to local authorities across England in the latest round of allocations from the fund.
Following discussions with local MPs, the Government has stipulated that councils receiving money will have to meet tough new conditions to ensure that schemes are properly thought out and that their impact on other road users are closely weighed up. Councils will also have longer to spend the money, ensuring there is time to consult local communities. If these conditions are not met, future funding allocations will be reduced and the Government could clawback some of the money already provided.
The Conservative Government has pledged a revolution in walking and cycling as part of its plans to level up the whole county, with the Prime Minister pledging a record £2 billion investment to double cycling and increase walking by 2025. This comes on top of more than £27 billion that will be invested in England’s roads over the next five years, ensuring the road network is safe, reliable and efficient.
Commenting, Robert Buckland said:
“As many of us have tried to avoid public transport in recent months, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people opting to walk or get on their bike when moving around.
“I’m delighted that Swindon will benefit from additional funding to make our local area more bike and pedestrian-friendly, while maintaining the access and space other road users still need.
Justin Tomlinson added:
“There are so many health and environmental benefits to getting more people cycling, so I am delighted the Government is continuing to invest in this area. In Swindon we are lucky to have some fantastic cycle routes, which include the Eastern, Western and Southern Flyovers – which were made possible thanks to a £3.75million investment from the government via Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.”
Also commenting, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“It has been great to see so many people build cycling and walking into their daily travel habits. To support them, we know it’s vital to have the right infrastructure in place so everyone – cyclists, pedestrians and motorists – can use our roads.
“This funding will help further realise that ambition, but councils must engage with communities to develop schemes that work for everyone – those that haven’t won’t be able to take their plans forward.”
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Notes to Editors
- We are providing £175 million to help upgrade cycling and walking infrastructure in local areas across England. As part of the Government’s Active Travel Fund, a further £175 million is being provided to local authority areas. The money can be used to fund measures including School Streets, where streets around schools are closed to motorists at school times; Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, where residential side streets are closed to through traffic to stop rat-running; segregated cycle lanes; and pedestrian improvements (DfT, News Story, 13 November 2020).
- We are ensuring roads are protected for motorists and other users, and that local communities are consulted on planned changes. For this, which is the second round of funding from the Active Travel Fund, the Transport Secretary has set tough new conditions on councils receiving funding, requiring them to ensure schemes are properly thought out, and the effects of schemes on all road users are closely weighed up. Councils will also have longer to consult local communities (DfT, News Story, 13 November 2020).
- This builds on the previous £250 million provided to councils, to help create emergency cycling and walking space during the first lockdown. The funding was used to create pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors in England, as people were urged to avoid public transport (DfT, News Story, 9 May 2020, link).
- The Conservative Government will invest £2 billion to upgrade walking and cycling infrastructure across England. The Active Travel Fund is one part of this wider £2 billion investment, which will be accompanied by an updated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. The Government aims to double cycling and increase walking by 2025 (DfT, News Story, 9 May 2020, link).