Cycling Minister Jesse Norman has announced £21m to improve significant on and off-road stretches of the National Cycle Network (NCN).
“Cycling and walking are a key part of our plans to make transport cleaner, greener and more productive,” said Norman. “This funding will help ensure that everyone can enjoy wonderful routes which connect communities across the UK, and benefit from the huge health and environmental benefits of cycling.”
In November, Sustrans – which develops and manages the NCN – published a review highlighting serious shortcomings in the existing 16,575 miles of routes. The charity recommended an action plan that it says will result in the number of journeys made on the NCN each year doubling by 2040.
Projects to be carried out with the new funding will include:
- Refurbishing and upgrading the Cinder Track North in Whitby to improve access to a substantial new housing development
- Converting a poor on-road section of the NCN between Dewsbury and Huddersfield to a combination of traffic free and full segregation
- Connecting current paths through the centre of Lincoln
- Re-routing busy on-road sections with poor junction facilities to an alternative traffic-free route in Longbridge, Birmingham
- Creating a new quiet-way route to replace a busy on-road section between Luton and Dunstable
- Improving a road crossing and re-routing to traffic-free alternatives around Ashton Court in Bristol
- Improving and extending paths connecting Thatcham and Newbury
Xavier Brice, Chief Executive of Sustrans commented: “As the custodians of the National Cycle Network we are very excited by this investment in transforming crucial links for communities across England, making it easier for everyone to walk and cycle.
“The network already makes it possible for 4.4 million people to travel actively every year, to work, school or for leisure. This investment is a vital boost to achieving a network of safe paths for everyone, used and enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.
“We look forward to working with local authorities and partner organisations around the country to improve people’s health, access to green spaces, and help our villages, towns and cities move sustainably.”
It’s also been announced that Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival will receive investment to continue its work inspiring the 42 per cent of people who own bikes but do not cycle, to start riding.
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Cycling UK, said: “We are delighted the Big Bike Revival will be going ahead again in 2019, helping tens of thousands more people to discover the joys of cycling.
“Last year we put on more than 1,000 events across England, kick starting a life time of cycling for more than 40,000 people we reached.
“This money will ensure even more people are helped to overcome the barriers that stop them getting on their bikes, while improving health, happiness and air quality.”