£225m for temporary cycle space allocated to English regions
The Department for Transport has today announced the regional allocation of the £225 million promised to local authorities to support interventions to create safe space for social distancing, and to help ensure that the easing of lockdown does not trigger the end of the ‘cycling boom’ which has been felt throughout the country.
Given concerns about the capacity of public transport due to social distancing, the money is intended to help local authorities rapidly install measures to enable cycling and walking, and ensure people have the space needed to be able to travel by foot or bike safely..
Following Cycling UK’s campaign for safe space for social distancing, which has so far seen over 10,000 people across the UK write to their local authority to call for safe routes for active travel, over 40 local authorities in England have either installed or committed to temporary changes to encourage cycling and walking, close streets to through traffic, widening pavements and install pop-up cycle lanes.
Central and local government have an opportunity to make sure that something positive comes out of this crisis, which would be a travesty to squander.
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, Cycling UK
However, it is hoped that this funding will enable and encourage more councils to take similar steps, and to expand some measures into wider networks, to ensure that cycling and walking become the first choice for shorter journeys as more people begin returning to work and travel restrictions are reduced.
In allocating the funding, the Department for Transport has identified those areas most reliant on public transport, as these will be most acutely affected by a reduced capacity of public transport due to social distancing, and will offer the greatest potential for increased cycling and walking. The regional breakdowns of the funding are as follows, with details of funding allocated to each council included in each press release:
- Yorkshire and the Humber: £24.5m
- North West: £33.5
- South West: £14m
- East: £30m
- Midlands: £38m
- South East: £70m (including £25m for London)
The Department for Transport has also announced a further £25 million will be made available to support other measures to encourage cycling, potentially including free bike check ups or repairs, although the details of this scheme have yet to be announced.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, said:
“Local authorities in England now know what monies they can expect to receive for temporary infrastructure measures from the Government’s emergency active travel fund, though many would welcome clarity regarding timescales. It’s now crucial that the Government gets the money out of the door quickly.
Local authorities must also engage with and listen to people about what’s needed and where, and move at pace to create protected space that will enable more people to walk and cycle safely whilst maintaining social distancing.
They have an opportunity to make sure that something positive comes out of this crisis, which would be a travesty to squander”.
The DfT has confirmed that Local Authorities are due to receive 20% of their funding allocation as soon as possible, and the remaining 80% later in the summer. Cycling UK will update this article as and when further information is available regarding processes and timescales