Prime Minister announces £94 million of funding for cycling projects in England

Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham top list of Cycle City Ambition cash grants - Govt money doesn't make up for massive cuts to cycling budget says Labour

by Simon_MacMichael   August 12, 2013  

DfT Cycling Investment

Prime Minister David Cameron has today announced the recipients of £77 million of Cycle City Ambition cash, with Greater Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham the biggest winners. Each is set to benefit from as much as £20 million in central governnment funding. A further £17 million has also been made available to boost levels of cycling in National Parks - bringing total government funding announced up to £94 million, and there are also plans to run a cycle path parallel to the high speed rail line, HS2.

In today's announcement the government also says it is commited to removing red tape that can act as a barrier to incorporating provision for cyciing within road design, and will also requuire local authorities in England to make provision for cycling part of new infrastructure "from the design stage."

The government says that together with local funding, the total ‘new’ money being made available for cycling is £148 million, although much of the cash has already been set aside for cycling but not allocated.

That includes £42 million announced in last November’s autumn statement, with transport minister Norman Baker saying in January that £30 million of that would fund the Cycle City Ambition scheme, plus £12 million put aside for National Parks (the figures in the DfT graphic at the top of our story are the totals including local match funding)..

£20 million that that will go towards improving safety at certain major trunk road junctions has also been previously announced.

Even so, the £77 million awarded to the eight winning Cycle City Ambition bids is more than double the £30 million originally set aside for the initiative; moreover, initial expectations were that only two, maybe three, bids would be successful.

At £17 million, the National Parks funding is also £5 million higher than the £12 million originally announced by Mr Baker.

Here are the winning bids (with full details below):

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

Mr Cameron said: “Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high - now we want to see cycling soar. Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists.

“This Government wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up and business, local government, developers, road users and the transport sector all have a role to play in helping to achieve this.”

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin added: “We have seen a significant growth in the number of cyclists in London over the last few years. But cycling shouldn’t be confined to the capital. Today’s announcement shows we are absolutely committed to boosting cycling in cities and the countryside across the whole of England. I want to help open up cycling to more people and these measures to make cycling safer on our roads are an important part of that.”

The investment was welcomed by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, whose chief executive Malcolm Shepherd sai: "Ths is fantastic news for those living in the successful cities.

"Getting about by bike for everyday journeys could become a reality for people of all ages and abilities in those areas, and we warmly welcome this initiative.

"We welcome the recognition that for the cycling revolution to become a way of life for us all this level of investment must be maintained and extended to all parts of the UK, including rural areas.

"Currently only one in fifty trips is made by bike, and we will welcome ongoing investment to achieve a ten-fold increase in cycling to make this revolution the norm."

However, Labour's shadow transport secretary, Maria Eagle, took the givernment to task for its scrapping of annual spend for cycling, as well as it's record on road safety, and outlined what her party would do if returned to power at the next general election.

“No amount of cynical spin from David Cameron will make up for the fact that, immediately on taking office, he axed Cycle England, the Cycle Demonstration Towns scheme and the annual £60m budget to support cycling that he inherited," she explained.

“Since then he has axed targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads, reduced traffic enforcement, cut the THINK! awareness campaign and allowed longer HGVs.

“Only last month the Prime Minister set out plans for Britain’s roads that failed to include a single commitment to the investment in separated cycling infrastructure that is the best way to boost cycling and make it safer.

“Tragically the number of cyclist deaths are now at a five year high, reversing the progress that was starting to be made, and reports of new casualties are becoming a weekly occurrence.

“Labour would support cycling and make it safer for cyclists by using the existing roads budget to deliver long term support for separated safe cycling routes and safer junctions, introduce a new Cycling Safety Assessment for new transport schemes, restore national targets and introduce tough new rules on HGVs,” Ms Eagle added.

Greater Manchester
DfT Funding £20m
Local Contribution £11.1m

The funding will kick start Velocity 2025, which will, over time, create a city-wide cycle network. Initially, as part of the CCAG funding, this will involve a series of high quality cycle lanes that will lead from the city centre out to the M60 like spokes of a bicycle wheel. Spokes will have a Cycle and Ride station located several miles from the city centre, allowing cyclists to leave their bikes and swap onto Metrolink or a local rail service for the last leg of their journey if they wish. As part of a door to door approach the proposals involve the introduction of 20 mph zones in some residential areas adjacent to the cycle “spokes” to enable safer access to the cycleways. Greater Manchester’s vision is to double the number of cycle journeys within 5 years and to double them again by 2025. The Government funding will bring 56km of new or improved cycle paths and predicted health and wellbeing savings of around £7 million a year.

West Yorkshire
DfT Funding £18.1m
Local Contribution £11.2m

Building on Yorkshire’s hosting the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in 2014, a package of cycle infrastructure improvements is proposed. A new segregated Super Highway from east Leeds to Bradford City Centre will be delivered with new connections in Leeds City Centre to provide continuity to other radial routes. In addition new secure cycle parking facilities are included and the Leeds Liverpool Canal Tow Path will be upgraded. At 14 miles this will be the longest continuous cycleway in the north of England, connecting key employment and regeneration sites in both cities. The ambition in West Yorkshire is to triple current cycling levels and increase cycling to account for 12% of all journeys in the target areas.

DfT Funding £17m
Local Contribution £7.3m

Birmingham Cycle Revolution is a 20 year strategy to make cycling a mainstream form of transport across the city. It aims to have cycling accounting for 5% of all journeys within ten years and 10% within 20 years.  This fund will accelerate this ambition through the creation of the first phase of a city-wide strategic cycle route network along radial corridors initially extending 20 minutes cycling time from the city centre. Key features include 71 miles of new cycle routes, improvements to 59 miles of existing cycle routes, segregated cycle facilities, lower speed limits, off-road routes using canals and green spaces and secure cycle parking and supported by a programme of smarter choices measures.

West of England
DfT Funding £7.8m
Local Contribution £3.3m

Building on its previous successes, the West of England’s ambition is to increase cycling by 76% by 2016. The bid focuses on linking people to major employment opportunities across the city of Bristol. Central to this is a new pedestrian and cycle promenade running east to west across the city following the route of the River Avon and terminating at Bristol Temple Meads station, where a new enterprise zone aims to bring 17,000 new jobs to the city. The scheme will create five new or improved river crossings for cyclist. In addition the bid includes the Cribbs Causeway to Emerson’s Green trunk cycle route in the North Fringe of Bristol; and, the Seven Dials National Cycle Scheme in Bath City Centre.

DfT Funding £5.7m
Local Contribution £6m

Central to Newcastle’s bid is linking employment and training opportunities to new housing developments in Newcastle and to existing communities where people are currently least likely to cycle. Newcastle plans a network of seven major cycle routes across the city making the best use of existing infrastructure and linking in with the major improvements currently underway in the city centre.  This Government investment will be supported by an Active Travel Centre where people can go for cycle maintenance, parking and information.  Recognising the potential for cycling, almost a million of public health funding in Newcastle is being invested in this initiative. Newcastle’s vision is to achieve 12% of all journeys under five miles by bike in the next ten years.

DfT Funding £4.1m
Local Contribution £4.1m

Cambridge competes on a global scale as somewhere to live, work and invest.  Congestion in the city is seen as one of the major risks to its future success and cycling is seen as an intrinsic part of the solution.
In ten year's time, Cambridge aims to have 40% of all journeys in the city by bike, bringing it in line with some of the best cycling cities in Europe.
The funding allocated today will create new, segregated cycle paths along some of Cambridge's most used cycle routes and will also provide much improved cycling facilities to some of the major employment sites in the South Cambridgeshire District.

Local match funding will provide parking for 3,000 bicycles at Cambridge station and a new direct foot/cycle route between the station and the Cambridge Science Park - a major employment centre for the city that has a new station planned to open in 2015.

DfT Funding £3.7m
Local Contribution £1.8m

Norwich’s ambition is to use cycling as the catalyst to make the city even more liveable and prosperous. Working with the public health funding partners, the city aims to double cycling in the next ten years, from an already high base. It will generate economic growth by connecting communities to centres of employment. At heart of its proposals is an eight mile cross-city route linking population centres to the locations of 51,500 existing and 12,500 planned jobs. Norwich’s targets are to increase the number of adults cycling once a week to 44% and adults cycling to work to 15% by 2023.

DfT Funding £835,000
Local Contribution £580,000

The scheme will remove one of the main barriers to cycling into and out of Oxford city centre, making The Plain roundabout safer and more attractive for both cyclists and pedestrians. The Plain roundabout is a busy five-arm roundabout with a high level of bus traffic and a history of cyclist casualties. The scheme will reduce the width of the circulatory carriageway and improve the roundabout’s design to unlock access to the city for cyclists of all levels of experience. This scheme will supplement a wider package of measures both planned and existing to help the city’s cyclists.

Peak District
DfT Funding £5m
Local Contribution £2.5m

3.5 million people in the surrounding urban areas of Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent will have better access to the cycle ways of the Peak District. The scheme provides four new routes which will enhance the network of traffic free cycling in the Peak District. The programme aims to target public health in the cities that connect to the national park.

DfT Funding 4.4m
Local Contribution £3.0m

The funding will deliver major improvements to 93 miles of cycle ways, with a further 86 miles benefitting from smaller upgrades such as improved signage. The focus of the scheme is new family-friendly routes to and through the park, supported by cycling hubs and provisions for access by those with limited mobility.

South Downs
DfT Funding £3.8m
Local Contribution £1.3m

The scheme provides opportunities for leisure cycling for the 5 million people who live within an hour of the South Downs National Park. The scheme will focus on improving access to the National Park from major rail stations. 55km of new routes will be built across England’s most visited and densely populated National Park.

New Forest
DfT Funding £3.6m
Local Contribution £2.2m

The scheme focuses on a new network of cycle docking stations that will allow people to cycle between key attractions, communities and transport hubs, supported by a new family cycling centre adjacent to Brockenhurst station. The scheme will also work with tourism businesses to ensure high quality family cycling facilities are widely available.


The feasibility study into a cycle path broadly following the HS2 route will look into how existing footpaths or cycle tracks could be joined up or upgraded to create a single route between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.  This could give benefits to people living along the HS2 route as well as encouraging tourism.

The study and its conclusions would be separate from ongoing work on HS2. This will give plans for cycle paths the flexibility to work to their own timetable. It will not be part of the HS2 Bill processes with no land-take or cost impacts.

More details on the work of this study and its timescales will be announced in due course.



32 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

HS2 - "The study and its conclusions would be separate from ongoing work on HS2. This will give plans for cycle paths the flexibility to work to their own timetable. It will not be part of the HS2 Bill processes with no land-take or cost impacts."

In other words - this won't happen. Or, it will be a laughable mix of towpaths, country roads, pavements, with the occasional muddy bridleway thrown in for good measure. Why on earth not cost and install it alongside HS2?

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [602 posts]
12th August 2013 - 8:35


Today’s announcement shows we are absolutely committed to boosting cycling in cities and the countryside across the whole of England

No, it doesn't. It really doesn't. Four National Parks and a few cities, many of which are already above the average for cycling provision, do not constitute "the whole of England". You need to tackle the Barnsleys and the Burtons and the Banburys, not just the Birminghams and the Bristols. There is good stuff in here but it is nowhere near enough.

Doctor Fegg's picture

posted by Doctor Fegg [142 posts]
12th August 2013 - 8:40


I would have spent the £5.7 million for the New Forest on a big prison for all the bike-hating residents.

posted by thelimopit [126 posts]
12th August 2013 - 8:50


This is all very nice, but what about the rest of us? The 95% of the country missing out.
Unless I'm missing something the numbers quoted by the BBC this morning don't add up either. They stated that it would be £10 per person. But with 53 million people in England and £148 million, it is £2.80 from now until end of 2015. Or in other words £1.40 per person per year, Hardly a massive investment in my view.
Don't get me wrong, I welcome every penny. I just don't think they (the government)are taking it seriously and are just pandering to us with stale bread crumbs to shut us up.

posted by Mart [110 posts]
12th August 2013 - 9:07


Amusing to see that that a political party (Labour) can find the massive gaping holes in a governments thinking when it wants to. Sadly the rest of the time it seems blind to the issues. Just think back to how everyone bar Jenny Jones missed the issues around cycling for the last London Mayoral campaign until the the last minute with the LCC's go dutch campaign.

posted by georgee [158 posts]
12th August 2013 - 9:22


having to bid for the money perhaps acts as a defence against the most incompetent schemes.

saying that, Oxford just introduced a superfluous bike hire scheme, at god knows what cost, rather than sort out the infrastructure.

For an example, this is part of the main route those hire bikes might take:,-1.198574&s...

And no, it's not legal to ride on that pavement.

The same road, a few hundred metres further down:,-1.200916&sp...

mmm, share the road.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [602 posts]
12th August 2013 - 9:55


Let's hope the Greater Manchester is spent better than the most recent cycle path i've seen constructed in the area, near the new BBC HQ. A pavement converted to 'shared use' crossing numerous business entrances, with a number of lamp posts left in the cycle lane for good measure.

Obviously some investment is better than none, but I just hope it isn't wasted. The fact a number of the routes will be on canal towpaths doesn't fill me with a great deal of hope though.

posted by dp24 [201 posts]
12th August 2013 - 10:03


Well done to the cities and parks. Now what about the rest of the country?

Also like some commenters above, I fear what sort of below-standard rubbish some of the money will be wasted on. Are there anything like "must comply with LTN 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design" strings attached?

posted by a.jumper [833 posts]
12th August 2013 - 10:13


It's still a drop in the ocean compared to what gets spent elsewhere, having to bid too.... says it all.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
12th August 2013 - 10:39


PJ McNally wrote:
having to bid for the money perhaps acts as a defence against the most incompetent schemes.

True, i wonder how many shared paths are planned... none i hope.

saying that, Oxford just introduced a superfluous bike hire scheme, at god knows what cost, rather than sort out the infrastructure.

Sounds like a classic case of trying to run before they can walk.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
12th August 2013 - 10:41


Just don't look at the comments on Sky News...

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
12th August 2013 - 11:04


*hops over to the sky news website

Oh gosh, its awful - what a bunch of self-righteous inbred monkeys!

posted by themartincox [493 posts]
12th August 2013 - 11:30


northstar wrote:

True, i wonder how many shared paths are planned... none i hope.

read the schemes and weep, most talk about shared pedestrian and cycle routes and spaces....

Employ drivers to do the planning and what do you expect!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1889 posts]
12th August 2013 - 11:43


Just like that phrase "Don't look behind you" I had too look. WOW, there are some very misinformed angry drivers on there. Its funny to think that the channel they subscribe to has spent so much money on cycling sport and the majority were probably cheering the cyclists in the Olympics, until it came to share the roads that we all pay for.

posted by Mart [110 posts]
12th August 2013 - 11:46


There's already some great cycling along the planned HS2 route, (eg around the Warwickshire/Northamptonshire/Oxfordshire border) which will shortly be ruined by carving up the countryside for HS2 !

Otherwise, this announcement is generally good news and I suppose we shouldn't grumble too much..

posted by 700c [747 posts]
12th August 2013 - 12:00


a bit like being told "don't touch the plate it's hot" I just had to go and take a look at sky's website....

Love the comments but "England has hills" that's why it is not suitable for cycling and the presumption that because someone pays some "road tax" the have an over riding right of pre-emption in terms of where the money is spent. Perhaps "road tax" is the only tax most of the commentators on that thread pay....

posted by arfa [651 posts]
12th August 2013 - 12:04


Got my tick list ready for all the cliched comments on the 'news' websites about cycling

"Road Tax"
Knocking down pedestrians
Bike tax
"Innocent Motorist"
Road Upkeep
Aroogant cyclists

I think all were mentioned within 2 or 3 comments on Sky News !


posted by gazer117 [26 posts]
12th August 2013 - 13:26


Its a piddlingly small amount and UK road planners still have no idea how to build cycle/pedestrian friendly infrastructure so will be wasted.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [726 posts]
12th August 2013 - 14:20


Hilarious comments on Sky News. Loser

Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
12th August 2013 - 14:59


Frightening more like Sad

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [493 posts]
12th August 2013 - 16:58


Given the standard of 'high quality' cycle paths already built in Manchester the money would be better spent putting down something that vaguely resembled a usable road surface

CycCoSi's picture

posted by CycCoSi [30 posts]
12th August 2013 - 17:13


gazer117 wrote:
Got my tick list ready for all the cliched comments on the 'news' websites about cycling

"Road Tax"
Knocking down pedestrians
Bike tax
"Innocent Motorist"
Road Upkeep
Aroogant cyclists

I think all were mentioned within 2 or 3 comments on Sky News !


Not forgetting bike MOT's! Amazing stuff Laughing

posted by Topcat [32 posts]
12th August 2013 - 20:24


posted by sfichele [136 posts]
12th August 2013 - 21:09


CTC's analysis of the PM's funding announcement is here:

Several postings above have rightly pointed out that:

* It's still a tiny sum of money compared with what's really needed. Some of the £148.4m is indeed re-announced central Government money (£42m of it), some if it is local authority funding (£54.4m of it) and only £52m of it is new central Government money.
* There is a risk that (some of) the local authorities will spend it badly, given the weakness of the Government's guidance on cycling infrastructure and/or the lack of cycle-friendly design skills in some local authorities.
* Even with the local authority contributions and re-announced money, it's still only £10/head of 1/10 of Britain's population, and for 2 years only.

However, viewed from a "glass half full" perspectve, it's worth noting that:

(a) We now effectively have David Cameron's endorsement of £10/head as the figure that needs to be reached for cycle use to start growing towards continental levels (even if he has so far only provided it for 2 years for 1/10 of the population!).

(b) Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has written an article in the Times (, in which he notes that the funding is "a start... not the finish line", adding that "I want to do more".

(c) DfT has issued a 17-page document explaining yesterday's annoucement in more detail ( Paras 3.1-3.2 say some very positive things about the intended aim of "cycle-proofing" all highway and traffic schemes (i.e. ensuring that cycling is designed-in at the outset), even though para 3.5 pointedly avoids any suggestion of strengthened design guidance (or, better still, some actual standards). That's what's really needed, backed by good professional training.

If we want more - far more - from the Government (which we obviously do!), we have two opportunities to demand it! One is DfT's promise of a cycling action plan, to be drawn up this autumn. More immediately though, the other is the parliamentary debate on the "Get Britain Cycling" report on Monday 2nd Sept - Parliament's first day back.


If we want more funding for cycling, backed by strong design standards, positive promotion, strengthened road traffic law etc etc, we ALL need to urge our MPs to speak up for cycling in Parliament on 2nd Sept!

Patrick McLoughlin MP says he wants to "Do More". Urge your MP to press him to do just that!


Please do this, and spread the word - it only takes c2 mins. Or you can edit the suggested email if you prefer.

Roger Geffen
Campaigns & Policy Director
CTC, the national cycling charity

posted by Roger Geffen [50 posts]
13th August 2013 - 19:41


Nice to see CTC still does good stuff. Its support for the nice way code had me worried that it had lost the plot.

posted by a.jumper [833 posts]
13th August 2013 - 21:20


It would be great if new roadworks and maintenance included better planned infrastructure. The state of bike lanes is ridiculous, in London you can find lanes that are only 20 feet in length. I wouldn't mind so much if I knew that this lane was part of a future joined up approach and when the next segment of road received maintenance then the lane would get extended. Without better planning, a lot of work is being served to cyclists through poor execution which is simply a waste of money.

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
13th August 2013 - 23:00


Didn't Bristol receive a shed load of money in the past few years for cycling only nothing changed in the city and oddly the money vanished!?!

Dangermouse's picture

posted by Dangermouse [14 posts]
13th August 2013 - 23:02


Dangermouse wrote:
Didn't Bristol receive a shed load of money in the past few years for cycling only nothing changed in the city and oddly the money vanished!?!

Little harsh! They have actually built most of the Festival Way connection towards Long Ashton in that time. There's much more needs doing but I think even the money they got wasn't the needed £10pppa.

One thing about all these construction projects is that the cycle routes should be kept open during building, in line with the Cycling and Road Works national guidance that almost no-one follows.

posted by a.jumper [833 posts]
14th August 2013 - 7:41


my god the comments on there make my eyes bleed

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
14th August 2013 - 14:28


Sadly nothing for York, though. City was voted 2nd 'most friendly cycling city' yet badly needs more funding.

Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades. (Merckx)

obutterwick's picture

posted by obutterwick [538 posts]
14th August 2013 - 16:11