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Highways England will also invest £100m in cycle facilities on or near the strategic road network

The Government says it will continue to support sustainable transport with a new £580m ‘Access’ fund for England which will run until 2019-20. However, the funding equates to little less than £3 per person per year – far below the £10 per person per year level the Prime Minister said he would be aiming for.

Asked by Lord Crathorne in the House of Lords whether the government had any plans to build bicycle tracks when new roads are constructed in the UK, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, said that there was to be a new £580m ‘Access’ fund supporting growth in cycling and walking that would build on the legacy of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

In April, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Conservative Party was aiming to increase funding for cycling to £10 per person per year, aiming to double levels of cycling by 2025. While the government is keen to point out that spend per head is currently over £10 in the eight Cycle City Ambition cities and in London, elsewhere it is far below.

Spanning the period from when the Department for Transport (DfT) publishes the long-awaited Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in spring until 2019-20, the Access Fund works out at £145m per year, so less than £3 per head based on England's population of 53 million at the 2011 Census.

Highways England and the strategic road network

Lord Ahmad also mentioned that Highways England is investing £100m in cycle facilities on or near the strategic road network up until 2020/21.

England’s strategic road network comprises around 4,300 miles of motorways and major ‘A’ roads. Although it represents only around two per cent of the road network in length, it carries a third of all traffic by mileage, including around two thirds of all heavy goods vehicle traffic. All other roads in England are managed by local and regional authorities.

Published in March, the Highways England Delivery Plan 2015-2020 says there will be “a dedicated programme of work to improve cycle facilities on or near our network.”

Cycling is prohibited on motorways and, in the words of the document, “incompatible with major parts of our network,” but twin objectives are listed:

  • Facilitate cycling on or near the trunk road network for all types of cyclist and make cycling on and over our network safer and easier
  • Reduce the impact of our network as a barrier to cycling journeys

The plan says that facilities will be designed to provide safe, direct and attractive routes, linking with wider cycle networks where appropriate.

£78m of the £100m total will go towards improving provision for cyclists on the all-purpose trunk road network. An example given of the kind of work that would be carried out is improvement work that has been completed along the A63 corridor in Hull, which has involved the creation of a shared pedestrian and cycle path.

More recently, the Cannock Mercury reports that Highways England plans to provide a cycle route along the A5 trunk road between the A5, A34, A460, M6T Churchbridge Junction, near Cannock, and Brownhills.

The money will also go towards provision of improved crossing points.

Over 40 cycling schemes were identified for 2015-16 with similar numbers to be added each year. The report also says that Highways England’s first Cycling Strategy will be released this month.

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7 comments

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CXR94Di2 [1831 posts] 1 year ago
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Is this the start of UK 's cycling infrastructure revolution?

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bumble [22 posts] 1 year ago
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no, it'll mean 50,000 more 'cyclist dismount' signs beside the A5.

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j@n [15 posts] 1 year ago
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Sounds like more shared pathways/pavements, which are useless for most semi keen cyclists. They built one on my commute a few years ago, narrowing the road in the process. I now have to take a 4 mile detour just to avoid that tiny stretch of road. The abuse I received for not using the shared pavement was incredible, and frankly started getting a little frightening.

Pedestrians and fast moving cyclists should not be travelling on the same infrastructure. I hope this funding will be used on proper cycling lanes.

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hawkinspeter [1029 posts] 1 year ago
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j@n wrote:

Sounds like more shared pathways/pavements, which are useless for most semi keen cyclists. They built one on my commute a few years ago, narrowing the road in the process. I now have to take a 4 mile detour just to avoid that tiny stretch of road. The abuse I received for not using the shared pavement was incredible, and frankly started getting a little frightening.

Pedestrians and fast moving cyclists should not be travelling on the same infrastructure. I hope this funding will be used on proper cycling lanes.

I totally agree. I often cycle on a dual carriageway that has a segregated shared use path by the side (would be useable if it wasn't for the poorly designed end that dumps you out in a really inconvenient part of a junction). That's the least favourite part of my journey as the cycle path seems to prompt some (only a handful to be fair) drivers to shout or give punishment passes or other bullying behaviour.

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DaveE128 [933 posts] 1 year ago
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Sounds like good news, but we really need some serious campaigning to make sure that all new cycling infrastructure is of good quality. There is still rubbish stuff going in and it's clear that those designing the schemes are by and large clueless about cycling. Any ideas how to go about this?

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gazza_d [472 posts] 1 year ago
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Shared paths are fine out in the sticks as long as they are wide enough at about 3m where pedestrian traffic is normally really light. 

I use both shared and seperated on my commute, and actually prefer the shared as the divider line which is usually painted can be tricky when it's wet & you need to zigzag past peopl walking on the cycling side.

But, yea if we could only sort the junctions and crossing points out

 

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Childbacktandem [2 posts] 1 year ago
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I am not convinced that the new £580m Access Fund is only for walking and cycling. It was billed as being a successor to the LSTF and being for "sustainable transport" which includes buses (and, in practice pretty much anything else which councils could get away with such as increasing motor vehicle flow to reduce fumes from congestion).

The answer given by Lord Ahmad suggests to me that the fund covers all sustainable transport. Although the large proportion allocated to capital may suggest that cycling and walking will get a reasonable proportion of the funds, funding for buses took quite a large share of the earlier LSTF money. 

Does anyone know more about this fund?