The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced £23m to ‘rejuvenate’ cycling and walking across the UK.
Cycling minister Jesse Norman has announced £21m to improve ‘significant’ on and off-road stretches of the 16,000-mile National Cycle Network, with a further £2m to encourage more people to cycle and walk, particularly children and young people.
Mr Norman said: ‘Cycling and walking are a key part of our plans to make transport cleaner, greener and more productive.
‘This funding will help ensure that everyone can enjoy wonderful routes, which connect communities across the UK, and benefit from the huge health and environmental benefits of cycling.’
Sustrans will manage the allocation of the cash, which will fund 'dozens' of activation projects for upgrading the network that were identified in the recent Paths for Everyone report.
Sustrans chief executive Xavier Brice said: ‘As the custodians of the National Cycle Network we are very excited by this investment in transforming crucial links for communities across England, making it easier for everyone to walk and cycle.’
The £2m will fund broader cycling and walking initiatives, including the Living Streets Walk to School outreach programme, which encourages young people to make walking a key part of their journeys from an early age.
According to the DfT, the scheme saw walking to school rates increase by 30% last year within schools supported by the scheme.
Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival will also receive cash to continue its work inspiring the 42% of people who own bikes but do not cycle, to start riding.
The Dft said it is estimated that the health benefits associated with walking and cycling on the network prevented 630 early deaths in 2017, and averted nearly 8,000 serious long-term health conditions.
Improvements to the National Cycle Network include:
- refurbishing and upgrading Cinder Track North in Whitby to improve access to a substantial new housing development
- converting a 'poor' on-road section of the NCN between Dewsbury and Huddersfield to a combination of traffic free and full segregation
- connecting current paths through the centre of Lincoln
- re-routing busy on-road sections with poor junction facilities to an alternative traffic-free route in Longbridge, Birmingham
- creating a new quietway route to replace a busy on-road section between Luton and Dunstable
- improving a road crossing and re-routing to traffic-free alternatives around Ashton Court in Bristol
- improving and extending paths connecting Thatcham and Newbury