Government pledges £20 million for England cycling routes

One day after the Chancellor’s Spending Review/Round – which was criticised for failing to mention cycling – the Department for Transport has seemingly made up for that omission with news of £20 million for cycling routes in England.

That cash will go to 20 new and improved cycling routes on the National Cycle Network, including new routes, better surfacing and improved links to other transport modes (something that countries like the Netherlands has invested heavily in – the UK… not so much).

The schemes follow 10 other projects announced earlier in 2019.

A study from the Department for Transport found that cycling’s cost-to-benefit ratio is on average between 5:1 to 19:1 (and in some cases is as beneficial as 35:1).

Cycling and Walking Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Cycling and walking are sustainable forms of transport, which help to keep people active and clean up the quality of our air.

“This funding will put the right infrastructure in place, so people can enjoy new routes on foot or by bike, supporting the Government’s ambition for cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys by 2040.”

The funding focuses on fixing dangerous junctions, reducing traffic levels, building better surfaces, creating more accessible paths, and improving route signage.

The projects include:

  • Re-routing the Fylde coastal path to become traffic-free, between Blackpool and St. Anne’s
  • Creating a new pedestrian and cycleway, the Gooseholme Bridge in Kendal
  • Improving accessibility and safety of the Liverpool Loopline
  • A community-led re-design to improve the quality of the existing Bristol and Bath railway path
  • Improving signage and building a new crossing for the Wolverhampton Wayfinding.
  • Building a traffic-free and accessible HS2 corridor from Sheffield to Doncaster
  • Constructing a new traffic-free path alongside HS2 in Buckinghamshire (Ed: Although HS2 has recently been shelved for 5 years)

Anita Konrad, National Director, England at Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity and the custodian of the National Cycle Network, said: “The National Cycle Network is a UK-wide asset which helps nearly 4.4 million people make car-free journeys each year, benefiting local economies, public health and the environment.

“This investment will help build on the Network’s success and we look forward to working with local authorities and partner organisations around England to achieve a network of walking and cycling paths that are safer and more accessible for everyone, regardless of their age and abilities.”

The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, published in 2017 sets out the Government’s ambitious plan for active travel. Almost £2 billion is projected to be invested over this Spending Review period in cycling and walking between 2016/17 and 2020/21 and investment per head has increased three-fold since 2010, according to the government. It’s vision is for “cycling and walking to become the natural choice for all shorter journeys, or as part of longer journeys, by 2040”.