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Tue September 21 2021

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Cycling and walking schemes get further funding boost

30 Jul The government has upped its planned funding for infrastructure upgrades to fuel the boom in ‘active’ travel to £338m.

The new total for the cycling and walking budget represents an increase of more than £80m on the figure of £257m announced in November’s spending review.

The money will enable construction of hundreds of miles of cycle lanes and deliver walking schemes as well as changes to the Highway Code. The package is part of a commitment to ‘build back greener’ from pandemic. There will also be new requirements to ensure that the effects of active travel schemes are properly assessed.

The measures are among those set out in the ‘Summer of Cycling and Walking’ document published today. It comes after last year saw cycling rise more than in the previous 20 years put together, with the number of miles cycled on British roads rocketing by 45.7% to five billion.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment. As we build back greener from the pandemic, we’re determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.

“This £338 million package marks the start of what promises to be a great summer of cycling and walking, enabling more people to make those sustainable travel choices that make our air cleaner and cities greener.”

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This announcement builds on the £2bn Gear Change cycling and walking programme, which was announced a year ago.
The £338 million is a 30% increase to the £257 million announced for active travel in last year’s spending review. This funding will help see the construction of hundreds of miles of new cycle lanes and aid the delivery of new schemes to encourage walking. This will include the delivery of improvements across the National Cycle Network.

To enhance safety for cyclists and pedestrians, a new version of the Highway Code will be published in the autumn, with updates including:

  • a hierarchy of road users that ensures road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others;
  • strengthened pedestrian priority on pavements and when crossing or waiting to cross the road;
  • guidance on safe passing distances and speeds and ensuring that cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.

Xavier Brice, Sustrans chief executive, said: “This funding will bring major improvements to the National Cycle Network in England by linking communities together and enhancing valued and well-used cycling and walking routes. Most importantly of all, this vital boost will further enable those who want to cycle or walk to do so.

“The pandemic has highlighted the huge benefits of active forms of travel to people’s personal health and wellbeing, to local communities and to the environment. We’ve seen a marked increase in numbers using the cycle network and this commitment to funding underlines its importance.”

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