Funding boost for cycling and walking schemes

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced further funding for West Midlands councils to create more safe cycling and walking routes.

The £17.4m given to the West Midlands is part of a £2bn national fund that was announced in May and reflects the strong public support for schemes that encourage people to cycle and walk, rather than use their cars.

Recent figures have shown that over 67 per cent of adults in the West Midlands walk or cycle once a week, and over 31 per cent walk or cycle five times a week. It is hoped that the funding boost will enable councils to encourage even more people to make more journeys by bike or on foot, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and encouraging active lifestyles.

Measures include the successful School Streets programme – closing roads around schools to cars at the start and end of the school day. This has been shown to reduce traffic outside schools by an average of 68 percent, with a corresponding rise in the number of children cycling to school – up by 51 per cent – and a 75 per cent drop in pollution levels outside schools.

Other projects include Low Traffic Neighbourhoods – closing residential side streets to through traffic to prevent rat-running and make roads safer for pedestrians, as well as improvements to pavements and footpaths, and the creation of segregated cycle lanes. The funding is conditional on councils conducting thorough consultations on any proposed schemes.

Grant Shapps said: “It has been great to see so many people build cycling and walking into their daily travel habits. To support them, we know it’s vital to have the right infrastructure in place. Whether you’re walking, cycling, driving or using public transport, people must have the space they need to get around safely.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We want to do everything we can to make it easy for people to include some activity in their daily routines – whether that’s cycling to work or walking safely to school. We can see the public’s strong appetite for greener and more active travel, and this funding will help ensure the right infrastructure is in place to build truly active neighbourhoods.”

If you’d like to make your business more cyclist, pedestrian or environmentally-friendly, then visit our Business Services pages, where there are links to organisations that support workplace wellbeing and energy saving.