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
West of England £7.8m
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.