London-Paris cycle route to be ready in 2012… if the money doesn't run out first

So long as the money doesn't run out on this side of the Channel

by Kevin Emery   October 6, 2009  

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A cycle route linking capital cities London and Paris will be completed in 2012 for the Olympics, French and British local authorities have said. The ‘Green Avenue’ - or ‘Avenue Verte’ as it will be known in French - is expected to extend over 218 miles, and will draw on several cycling routes in South England.

But East Sussex County Council, who are helping partners develop the project, have warned that money might not be readily available for the project due to the current financial climate in the UK.

The London to Paris route will provide a symbolic “link” between two major attractions in both cities: the Tower of London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as well as offering an alternative and greener means of transportation between them.

The route, which will largely consist of traffic-free tracks, will use extended stretches of decommissioned railway lines, and existing national cycle network routes through the south of England before arriving at the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry crossing to take the ferry across to France.

Costs for the British side of the route are estimated to reach £30m.

An East Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “We think the Avenue Verte would be a fantastic facility and fully support the initiative. Not only would it link the two countries, it promotes a form of transport that encourages fitness and health; and it encourages an environmentally friendly lifestyle in keeping with our efforts to help people reduce their carbon footprint.

“For these reasons we’ll continue to play an active role in the project, but because of the difficult financial times we are all currently facing it's important that we prioritise investment and focus our available resources on the essential services we deliver. As a result, we’ll continue to seek opportunities for external funding to progress Avenue Verte."

On the English side, the route would mainly follow the National Cycle Network Route 21 between London and the South coast. South of Polegate, the route would continue to Newhaven as National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 2, along the South coast, into West Sussex to the West and Kent to the East. North of East Sussex, the route would follow NCN 21 through West Sussex, Surrey and into London.

In France, the Avenue Verte follows the former Dieppe to Paris railway for 40km. It currently stops just outside Forge-Les-Eaux but once complete, the route will extend to Paris almost entirely on traffic-free routes. The likely end point will be Notre Dame.