Brentwood and Ongar MP Alex Burghart has welcomed news that Essex is set to receive an additional £7,358,700 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund to create safe space for cycling and walking.
The money will be provided to Essex County Council 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.
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 claw back some of the money already provided.
Commenting, Alex said: “Over the last few months we have seen a huge increase in the number of people opting to walk or get on their bike to avoid public transport. Therefore, I welcome the news that Essex 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 - terrific news! I am aware of several local projects in my Brentwood and Ongar constituency which might benefit from this funding and will be talking to Essex County Council to ensure they look at these when the funding is being allocated."
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 – those that haven’t won’t be able to take their plans forward.” ENDS
Notes to Editors
- We are providing £175 million to help upgrade cycling and walking infrastructure in local areas across England. As part of the Government’s Active Travel Fund, a further £175 million is being provided to local authority areas. The money can be used to fund measures including School Streets, where streets around schools are closed to motorists at school times; Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, where residential side streets are closed to through traffic to stop rat-running; segregated cycle lanes; and pedestrian improvements (DfT, News Story, 13 November 2020).
- We are ensuring roads are protected for motorists and other users, and that local communities are consulted on planned changes. For this, which is the second round of funding from the Active Travel Fund, the Transport Secretary has set tough new conditions on councils receiving funding, requiring them to ensure schemes are properly thought out, and the effects of schemes on all road users are closely weighed up. Councils will also have longer to consult local communities (DfT, News Story, 13 November 2020).
- This builds on the previous £250 million provided to councils, to help create emergency cycling and walking space during the first lockdown. The funding was used to create pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors in England, as people were urged to avoid public transport (DfT, News Story, 9 May 2020, link).
- The Conservative Government will invest £2 billion to upgrade walking and cycling infrastructure across England. The Active Travel Fund is one part of this wider £2 billion investment, which will be accompanied by an updated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. The Government aims to double cycling and increase walking by 2025 (DfT, News Story, 9 May 2020, link).
Photo Credit: Ian Davidson