The news that North Yorkshire is to receive an additional £1,011,750 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund, designed to create safe space for cycling and walking will make our roads more bike and pedestrian friendly.
The money will be provided to the local council and could be used to fund measures such as School Streets, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and segregated cycle lanes. In total, £175 million is being allocated to local authorities across England in the latest round of allocations from the fund.
Following discussions with local MPs, the Government has stipulated that councils receiving money will have to meet tough new conditions to ensure that schemes are properly thought out and that their impact on other road users are closely weighed up. Councils will also have longer to spend the money, ensuring there is time to consult local communities. If these conditions are not met, future funding allocations will be reduced and the Government could clawback some of the money already provided.
I have heard from dozens of constituents over the past few months who have taken advantage of the coronavirus restrictions either to dig their bikes out of their sheds or to make a habit of regular walking to get about instead of relying on their cars or public transport. I hope this will continue because it’s good for health and well-being and of course the environment. I’m delighted that North Yorkshire will benefit from additional funding to make our local area more bike and pedestrian-friendly, while maintaining the access and space other road users still need. This Conservative Government was elected on a promise to level up the whole country and investment such as this into our local infrastructure shows we are delivering exactly that.
Also commenting, Transport Secretary 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 so everyone, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, can use our roads. This funding will help further realise that ambition, but councils must engage with communities to develop schemes that work for everyone and those that haven’t won’t be able to take their plans forward.”
The Conservative Government has pledged a revolution in walking and cycling as part of its plans to level up the whole county, with the Prime Minister pledging a record £2 billion investment to double cycling and increase walking by 2025. This comes on top of more than £27 billion that will be invested in England’s roads over the next five years, ensuring the road network is safe, reliable and efficient.