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17 Aug 2021

£338m investment to transform active travel
BY Tom Walker

Funding will be used to create hundreds of miles of new high-quality cycle lanes

Funding will be used to create hundreds of miles of new high-quality cycle lanes
photo: Shutterstock: Monkey Business

The UK government is to invest £338m in transforming active travel through infrastructure upgrades, changes to The Highway Code and new requirements to ensure that active travel schemes' effects are properly assessed.

The funding is part of the government's commitment to further support cycling and walking, after 2020 saw the number of miles cycled on British roads increase more than in the previous 20 years put together – by 45.7 per cent to 5 billion.

Funding will be used to create hundreds of miles of new high-quality cycle lanes and aid the delivery of new schemes to encourage walking. This will include the delivery of improvements across the existing National Cycle Network.

Other measures include changes to the Highway Code, which will see a "hierarchy of road users" being established, to ensure road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others.

This will result in pedestrians being placed at the top of the hierarchy, followed by cyclists.

As well as improving safety for cyclists, the government is also aiming to make cycling easier and more accessible through a new scheme aiming to increase awareness of e-cycles and tackle barriers to their use.

An e-cycle support programme will be launched later this year and comes after the government has already provided funding to help 9 local authorities deliver e-cycle initiatives.

To support the infrastructure investments the government will also introduce measures designed to secure the long-term shift to active travel – by ensuring that active travel schemes' effects are properly assessed. This will result in councils that rip out cycle lanes or low-traffic neighbourhoods – without providing evidence that they are not working – being in danger of losing future central government funding.

The move has been welcomed by active travel advocates and campaigners.

Sir Dave Brailsford, INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal said: "Cycling has had a real boost during the pandemic as people of all ages have recognised its many benefits and it is a real positive that the government are making cycling such a transport priority for the future.

"Getting on your bike is great for your health and it’s also great for the environment so there has never been a better time to get pedalling."



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