The Coalition Government has announced a massive boost for cyclists with nearly £150m to make cycling easier and safer.
£77m will be divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich, while the New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor will each share a slice of £17m funding for national parks. With local contributions, the total new funding for cycling is worth £148m between now and 2015.
Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker has made investment in cycling a priority for the Government, including setting up the £600m Local Sustainable Transport Fund to invest in local cycling and green transport schemes.
Commenting, Norman Baker said:
“Cycling is not just the cheapest, greenest and healthiest way to get around, on congested city streets it’s often the fastest form of travel too. That’s why I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues have made it a priority in Government.
“Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, and investing in cycling is part of that.
“We want to turn Britain into a cycling nation to rival countries like the Netherlands and Germany. That needs careful planning, so today’s announcement includes wider measures to ensure the needs of cyclists are considered right at the start of road infrastructure schemes.”
The Government has announced allocations from the Government’s fund to make cycling easier and safer for people in the following urban areas which include the three largest cities outside of London:
- Greater Manchester £20m
- West Yorkshire £18.1m
- Birmingham £17m
- West of England £7.8m
- Newcastle £5.7m
- Cambridge £4.1m
- Norwich £3.7m
- Oxford £0.8m
This funding means that investment in cycling in the eight cities is now in excess of £10 per head per year, as recommended by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s recent report. This will help these cities deliver a surge in cycling similar to that seen in the capital.
In addition the Government announced:
- funding has been agreed at four national parks - the Peak District (£5m) Dartmoor (£4.4m), the South Downs (£3.8m) and the New Forest (£3.6m)
- a feasibility study to look into creating a new national cycleway broadly following the route of the HS2 rail line from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, linking communities and rail stations to work, schools and shops as well as countryside and tourist attractions along the way
- the creation of a new national School Awards Scheme to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling and walking; the UK cycle industry, led by the Bicycle Association, has volunteered to work with government to sponsor this award
- the Government is extending its commitment to support Bikeability cycle training into 2015 to 2016