Lancashire, Dorset and Leicester among most ambitious councils for cycling

Leicester is one of the authorities that has been awarded increased funding due to its ambitious vision. Photo Ride Leicester
Cycling UK has identified 23 councils in England whose plans demonstrate ambition and vision to enable more people to walk and cycle as we come out of lockdown
  • Cycling UK reveals winners and losers of English authorities as government allocates Emergency Active Travel funding
  • Charity says list indicates which local authorities are serious about cycling and walking during and after the pandemic

On 27 May, the Department for Transport wrote to all local authorities launching the first tranche of its £225m Emergency Active Travel Fund, saying the “new funding is designed to help you [local authorities] use pop-up and temporary interventions to create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling in your area”.

The government has stated that cycling and walking have an essential role in helping to avoid overcrowding on public transport, as they allow people to travel while maintaining social distancing.

Advice for what the councils could build includes temporary segregated cycle lanes, traffic-free streets and meaningful reallocation of road space. The Department made it clear: “Anything that does not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded.”

Each council was given an indicative amount of what was available to them, with up to 20% of this sum available in the first tranche of funding.

Analysing the government’s funding announcement for local authorities made on 02 July, Cycling UK has identified 23 councils which received more than the 20%, indicating highly ambitious plans to enable more active travel. A further 33 councils received the full amount of funding available.

Commenting on the funding for cycling and walking, Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said:

“These funding allocations read like a half-term report on English councils’ plans to get more people to walk and cycle as restrictions on movement ease. Most of the class understands the risk of gridlock in their towns and cities, if people who normally take public transport choose to drive over walking and cycling for shorter journeys. But there’s a disappointing percentage whose report cards will read ‘Try harder’ and ‘Must do better’.”

These funding allocations read like a half-term report on English councils’ plans to get more people to walk and cycle.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's head of campaigns

12 councils, including popular cycling destination Surrey, received only 50% of the initial tranche of funding available, while three received just 25%. In each case, Cycling UK believes these councils showed a lack of understanding of what is needed to make active travel look and feel like a natural and safe option for short journeys, but the charity says it’s not too late to do more.

“Since lockdown began, Cycling UK and over 11,000 of our supporters have written to every council in England urging them to put in place temporary cycling measures,” said Mr Dollimore.

“Many have got the message and submitted funding bids which recognised the need to reallocate road space. Those councils receiving less than was available need to be much bolder when applying for the second tranche of emergency active travel funding later this summer. Cycling UK would urge them to engage with the community, and not waste a second opportunity to submit meaningful and ambitious plans to create space for and prioritise the sustainable and safe movement of people.”

Cycling UK has created a web page that allows members of the public to engage with their councils and also make suggestions of where improvements for cycling and walking can be made.


Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.
  2. For the full list of funding on the Government’s website see:
  3. A map of funding and percentage of funding granted is available at:
  4. A breakdown of number of authorities and their allocation compared to the original indication is available here:

Allocation compared to original indication

Number of authorities













  1. For a full list of funding allocation per local authority see attachment.

Press contact information

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) please email publicity@cyclinguk.orgOut of hours, call 07786 320 713.