The Department for Transport and Active Travel England have announced a £200 million fund to support walking and cycling, reduce emissions and boost local economies. The Fund was announced on Monday 6th February 2023,
Active Travel England is inviting local authorities in England to apply for funding to make improvements to enable people to choose active travel, which can help them save money and stay healthy. Schemes could include:
o Creating more paths in rural areas.
o Developing safer routes for children to walk to school, and
o Improved safety at junctions for people walking and cycling
Funding can also be used to support people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters by making street designs more inclusive.
Projects will be designed in consultation with residents and businesses to ensure schemes are safe and work for local communities. The successful projects will be announced later this year. Guidance has been created to help local authorities develop active travel schemes that are well-designed and completed to a high standard.
Walking and cycling charity Sustrans has estimated that active travel generated £36.5 billion for the economy in 2021 through increased spending on high streets, reduced pressure on the National Health Service and better access to jobs. This investment could also generate up to 16 million additional walking and cycling trips each year.
Studies show that 1 in 2 women feel unsafe walking after dark in a quiet street near their home. Local authorities will also need to show that their proposed schemes take women’s safety into account.
The funding could also see more young people choosing a healthier and greener way to travel from home to the classroom. With less than half of children aged 5 to 16 walking or cycling to school, this investment aims to boost uptake. The UK government’s objective is to enable 55% of all primary school children to walk to school by 2025.
Because of the limited size of the Fund (£200 million), we think that invitations to apply have only been sent to County Councils, Metropolitan and Unitary Authorities, rather than district and borough councils. Please contact your local Transport or Planning Services at your County, Metropolitan or Unitary authority if you’d like to find out more about the Fund. GOV.UK produces a useful guide on which services different tiers of local government provide in England.
Alternatively, Active Travel England should have more information on the Fund.