Third round of funding for active travel opens in Scotland

Transport Scotland has opened a third round of funding from the Scottish Government’s active travel budget for 2020/21 to help increase walking, cycling and other modes of sustainable travel.

The Paths for All’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund has been allocated £2 million in this round, with the fund supporting the Transport Transition Plan launched last week-part of the Scottish Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time, the fund will support projects which encourage staying local, making fewer journeys and promoting home working opportunities. This is in addition to the walking, cycling and public transport journey planning initiatives which are typically supported.

Grants available are between £5,000 and £50,000 and need to be match-funded by public, community and third sector organisations who wish to encourage healthier and greener travel choices.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: “The Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund continues to support innovative behavioural change projects which encourage active and sustainable travel choices. I’m pleased that we have previously provided £4.3 million through Paths for All in the first two years of the Open Fund, supporting 177 projects right across Scotland. This year, the Open Fund takes place in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the scheme has evolved to support our Transport Transition Plan, including seeking to provide incentives for working at home, in addition to active travel projects, in order to help manage demand on Scotland’s public transport network.

“We have seen increased rates of walking and cycling in recent months, coupled with improved air quality in our towns and cities. The Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund, which includes expert management and support from Paths for All, will help organisations that want to support this shift to more sustainable travel behaviour as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All, said: “For the past two years, the Open Fund has made it possible for hundreds of organisations and community groups of all shapes and sizes to start projects which encourage healthier, more sustainable ways to travel.

“It’s fantastic to see this third round of funding coming right at this time when we have all been reminded of the importance of walking and cycling not just for our physical health, but what it can do to boost our mental health in times of anxiety.

“I’m especially pleased to see that, for the first time and as we move slowly to a ‘new normal’, we will be helping organisations to embrace home working, cutting down the need for employees to make that daily commute and play their part in reducing emissions. Our team here at Paths for All are excited to welcome applicants and we will continue to support them to help create a happier, healthier Scotland.”

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