Money would be used for two cycle routes across city as well as improvements on inner ring road

Nottingham is to bid for £6 million of the £30 million funding that the Department for Transport (DfT) is making available to cities in England under its Cycle City Ambition fund.

Last October, the city published its updated Cycling Action Plan for 2012-15. According to the Nottingham Post, specific projects that would benefit from investment if the funding bid proves successful include:

  • Two cross-city cycle routes that would link the city centre to suburbs
  • Improvements to the inner ring road to make it more cycle-friendly
  • Better cycling facilities in specific neighbourhoods aimed at benefiting less confident riders.

The overriding aim is to encourage more people to incorporate cycling as part of their daily life.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City Council's portfolio holder for planning and transportation, commented: "Cycling is a very important part of the transport mix in Nottingham.

"We have award-winning public transport, a tram network which is being enhanced and a £16.2 million ring road improvement scheme.

"Alongside this we now have an exceptionally ambitious plan for cycling in the city which will have huge benefits for existing cyclists and, we hope, encourage others to use this mode of transport, with all the health and environmental benefits it brings."

Census data for 2011 reveal that 3.39 per cent of people living in Nottingham use a bike as their main way to commute to work, well above the national average.

However, that represents an 8 per cent drop on a decade earlier, with Nottingham the only major city in England to experience a decline over the period.

Apart from Birmingam, all others saw a significant increase, with cycling to work rising by almost more than a third in Leeds and up by half in Sheffield, although in both cases they are still at less than half Nottingham’s level.

Last September, the local council introduced a cycle hire scheme, although as we reported last month, the equivalent of just one bicycle a day has been hired since the launch.

When he launched the Cycle City Ambition fund in January, transport minister Norman Baker said: “We are serious about cycling, as this latest wave of funding shows.

“We have already seen how schemes can quickly deliver economic and environmental benefits, as well as improving public health.

"Anyone who rides a bike will know it is important to keep the impetus going and this record level of funding will provide a shot in the arm to cycling in England.

"Our ambition is to get people cycling more safely and more often.”

Besides Nottingham, the cities eligible to bid for part of that £30 million include Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.