Here we go again… The announcement of another pot of cash which will fund a handful of schemes across the country and have minimal impact on the lives of the majority. Good for those who receive it but for those that don’t, simply gaslights us into thinking that the government are committed to transforming our country into one where active travel is the norm. (Remember Boris Johnson’s “golden age of cycling”?) There is a scheme near where I live in West Yorkshire – a disused railway that runs along the Ryburn Valley from Sowerby Bridge to Ripponden and Rishworth (see below) – that would be a great candidate for a slice of this cash but it’s unlikely to happen. Expect the money to be allocated predominantly in Tory ‘red wall’ constituencies. And when the beauty contest decisions are made later in the year, watch out for the same announcement to be made again. Meanwhile in The Netherlands they are putting their money where their mouth is (as they have being doing for decades) and have just opened an underwater bike parking facility in Amsterdam…
Anyway, here’s what the Department for Transport have to say:
- Millions of people in England will benefit from improved walking, wheeling and cycling routes thanks to a £200 million government fund
- Funding will improve crossings and junctions to increase safety, in consultation with local residents and businesses
- Investment in active travel will grow the economy by improving transport links, boosting high streets and creating skilled jobs
“Schools, high streets and main roads will benefit from improved crossings and junctions to support walking and cycling, reduce emissions and boost local economies, thanks to a £200 million fund announced today (6 February).
Active Travel England is today inviting local authorities in England to apply for funding to make improvements to enable people to choose active travel, which can help them save money and stay healthy. Schemes could include creating more paths in rural areas, developing safer routes for children to walk to school, and improved safety at junctions for people walking and cycling. Funding will also be used to support people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters by making street designs more inclusive.
Projects will be designed in consultation with residents and businesses to ensure schemes are safe and work for local communities, and the successful projects will be announced later this year. Guidance has been created to help local authorities develop active travel schemes that are well-designed and completed to a high standard.
Walking and cycling charity Sustrans has estimated that active travel generated £36.5 billion for the economy in 2021 through increased spending on high streets, reduced pressure on the NHS and better access to jobs. This investment could also generate up to 16 million additional walking and cycling trips a year.”
Back to me. This is what properly funded active travel actually does look like:
Here’s a post from 2017 about the Ryburn Valley Greenway referred to above:
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