The Government has announced the latest round of funding for active travel schemes, worth £200 million.
The latest round of funding, will provide a boost to high streets and local businesses, and transform the school run for tens of thousands of children, generating up to 16 million extra walking and cycling trips a year, it says.
Alongside the environmental benefits, the plans will help ease congestion across cities, with people choosing more active choices that can benefit their mental and physical health and wellbeing and relieve pressure on the NHS, added the Government.
Following extensive consultation with local authorities, communities across England will benefit from new funding, with over 265 schemes in 60 areas – including Yorkshire, Manchester, Devon and Leicester – receiving a share of the latest round of funding.
The investment, announced in February of this year, will deliver a range of schemes across the country, including 121 miles of new cycle track, 77 miles of new paths and greenways and initiatives to make streets safer around 130 schools.
Active travel is also estimated to bring a £36.5 billion boost to the economy in a year through increased high street spending and better access to jobs, delivering on our priority to grow the economy.
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 added: “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. We’ll be working together to ensure the projects are well-designed and effective, so that they bring maximum benefits to communities and help improve lives nationwide.”
The winning projects have demonstrated they provide people with attractive choices to use cycling and walking for local journeys, and do not include any low traffic neighbourhood schemes. Local authorities have worked closely with local people to ensure the schemes benefit the community as a whole.
Successful authorities have detailed the benefits of successful schemes, including Tamworth in Staffordshire, which will use the funding to enable active and safe modes of travel to schools, while Barnstaple and Ilfracombe in Devon will see an unused railway track converted into a walking and cycling route to connect rural communities.
Safety and accessibility will be at the heart of improvements and creation of walking and cycling routes, meaning safety for women and children walking to school will be improved, and people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters will see street designs become even more inclusive.
Government funding has meant cycling across England has continued to thrive and is up 11% on pre-pandemic levels, increasing by more than 20% in the past 10 years.