Over £22 million has been awarded to three permanent active travel schemes in Ayr, Hawick and Broughty Ferry in Scotland.
The money, provided by the Scottish Government and allocated through the Sustrans Places for Everyone initiative, will fund projects that when complete, will make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys by reallocating road space in favour of sustainable active travel modes.
As outlined in the Programme for Government, the Scottish Government has committed to investing over £500 million in active travel across the next five years. More permanent projects, including smaller schemes, will be progressed through the Sustrans Places for Everyone programme – in line with the vision of a more sustainable transport system as outlined in the National Transport Strategy.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “It’s been really encouraging to see the strength of ambition, demonstrated by local authorities, in their applications to the Sustrans Places for Everyone scheme. With the support received by local communities, these three large scale active travel projects will transform opportunities to walk, wheel and cycle across Ayr, Hawick and Broughty Ferry.
“Encouraging more sustainable active travel journeys is vital to our health, wellbeing and in our response to the climate emergency. Our recently published Climate Change Plan update puts active travel at the heart of our actions to secure our world leading net-zero ambitions. That’s why we’re investing over £500 over the next five years, in addition to a further £50 million to support new ‘Active Freeways’ to some of Scotland’s major destinations.
Karen McGregor, Director of Sustrans Scotland said: “Despite the challenges of 2020, we have been presented with an impressive range of major projects this year. We’re pleased to be contributing to securing Broughty Ferry and Hawick against the threats posed by flooding and contributing to the regeneration of Ayr, while at the same time helping all three places transform the way people get about by foot, by bike and by wheel.”
Councillor Peter Henderson, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said:“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the Sustrans’ Places for Everyone scheme, which will allow us to implement our ambitious accessibility programme, an important step towards a Net Zero Carbon South Ayrshire.
“The active town vision for Ayr includes the major investments of a new leisure centre close to the High Street, new public open space and an athletics centre of excellence. Our accessibility programme will play an important role in connecting these elements and promoting active travel.”
Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council said: “I am thrilled that Scottish Borders Council has achieved this funding to deliver an active transport scheme in Hawick connected to the ongoing Hawick Flood Protection Scheme which includes a 7km long cycle route.
“The project has been developed with the community through working groups led by the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme and the input received has been instrumental in this successful outcome.
“This investment will provide vital links to communities, encourage more people to walk, wheel and cycle their journeys by creating dedicated traffic-free routes and enhance key locations throughout the town. This will be of benefit not only to the townsfolk but visitors too.”
Mark Flynn, Convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee said: “This is one of the largest investments ever made in the area’s active travel infrastructure and a clear sign of the commitment to continue helping people to make choices that are good for them, good for the community and good for the wider environment.
“This was a collaborative process that relied heavily on the input and support of the people of Dundee and Angus and I am grateful for their backing for road space being used this way, particularly on the wider sections which will give cyclists and walkers exclusive use. I am sure that the improvements to the route will encourage even more people to get out walking or wheeling to enjoy the views and wide-open spaces of our coastline and in doing so boost their health and wellbeing.”
The three schemes:
*The Hawick Active Travel Network, working alongside The Hawick Flood Defence Scheme, will deliver over 7km of new active travel facilities for the town of Hawick. It will provide links to key communities and will create five key landscaped areas and the enhancement of the 3km of the river corridor. This package of measures will ensure a safer, more attractive, more interesting and biodiverse environment for the people of Hawick.
*The Broughty Ferry active travel project will link the communities of Broughty Ferry and Monifieth with high quality cycling infrastructure including the first fully segregated cycle lanes in Dundee. It will create improvements to beachfront access, and a number of placemaking schemes and public art on the length of the route.
*Accessible Ayr is a key component of an ambitious Active Town vision for Ayr, which is being promoted by South Ayrshire Council. It will improve active travel infrastructure within and around Ayr Town Centre removing barriers and allowing the community and visitors to make more sustainable travel choices. In addition, the project will create an integrated network of pedestrian, cycle and wheeling priority routes that connect key areas and transport nodes in the town, while improving links to the surrounding neighbourhoods and developing new green infrastructure.