Region secures for £10m investment in active travel

Yorkshire will benefit from cleaner air and easier ways to travel and keep active, thanks to almost £10 million of Government funding for new walking and cycling schemes across the region.

The Government’s new executive agency Active Travel England, led by Chris Boardman, will oversee the delivery of 134 first-rate schemes, backed by £161 million, which include new footways, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings across 46 local authorities outside London.

The projects will create new routes and improve existing ones, in order to make it easier for people to choose active and green ways of getting around.

Residents in Sheffield will see new bi-directional cycleways and improved level footpaths, while West Yorkshire is getting two new active travel neighbourhoods in Bradford and Calderdale – with segregated cycle lanes on busier roads, local improvements and some roads closed to motor traffic – plus cycle parking improvements in York city centre.

The projects will create new routes and improve existing ones, making it easier and cheaper for people to choose active and green ways of getting around while better connecting communities.

In addition to the £161 million for the 134 local authority schemes, 19 authorities – including in Hull, Sheffield and West Yorkshire – will also receive a share of £1.5 million for “mini-Holland” feasibility studies, to assess how the areas could be as pedestrian and cycle-friendly as their Dutch city equivalents.

Active travel commissioner Chris Boardman said: “This is all about enabling people to leave their cars at home and enjoy local journeys on foot or by bike. Active Travel England is going to make sure high-quality spaces for cycling, wheeling and walking are delivered across all parts of England, creating better streets, a happier school run and healthier, more pleasant journeys to work and the shops.”

The Government has also confirmed it will inject up to £8 million towards the new “Cycling Made E-asy” programme to accelerate the uptake of e-cycles by offering short and long-term loans of e-cycles. The pilot scheme, which will be delivered by Cycling UK and launched earlier this week in Greater Manchester and is set to be rolled out in Sheffield, Hull, Leicester, Luton and Dunstable.

The news of this funding comes as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority also received £200,000 as part of the Department for Transport’s Capability Fund to deliver a trio of projects which aim to improve people’s health and wellbeing, support access to employment and training opportunities and boost people’s social interaction:

  • The translation of the Louisa Fennell walk into 6 languages, opening up the history of Wakefield to new communities, led by Dream Time Creative
  • Led walks for elderly members of the community who suffer from mobility issues, led by the Senior Citizens Support Group
  • Improvements to the historical Wakefield Gate route between Halifax and Hipperholme, led by the Halifax Civic Trust

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “I’m constantly inspired and impressed by our partners in West Yorkshire, who work so hard in their communities to improve lives by empowering people to choose active travel.

“This scheme has enabled us to support our partners to do more, by investing in them. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the different brilliant things these groups can achieve with the funding they’ve deservedly won.”