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Walking and cycling schemes get £200m boost

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alking and cycling schemes across England have been awarded a share of £200 million of Government funding to spark a “golden age” for active travel.

The Department for Transport claimed the money will help “millions of people” benefit from cleaner air and cheaper ways to travel.

Active Travel England, a Government agency led by Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman, will oversee the delivery of 134 schemes backed by £161 million.

This is all about enabling people to leave their cars at home and enjoy local journeys on foot or by bike

Among the projects in 46 local authorities outside London are:– New junctions and pedestrian crossings in Liverpool.– Segregated cycle lanes across the North East.– A new travel corridor in Gloucestershire with reduced traffic and high-quality cycle routes.

In addition, £35 million has been awarded to upgrade 44 off-road sections of the National Cycle Network.

The network features routes for walking, cycling and wheeling, which refers to the use of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Up to £8 million is going towards a new programme to accelerate the uptake of electric bikes through a pilot scheme enabling people to borrow them.

Nineteen authorities such as Nottinghamshire, Hull and Manchester will receive a share of £1.5 million for feasibility studies into so-called mini-Hollands, to assess how the areas could be as pedestrian and cycle-friendly as Dutch cities.

The £200 million is part of a £2 billion commitment to active travel announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July 2020.

Transport minister Trudy Harrison said: “This multimillion-pound investment will ensure people right across the country can access cheap, healthy and zero-emission travel.

“Active Travel England will be working hard to create a new golden age of walking and cycling, enabling everyone to reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle, creating streets where children can play, and making nicer places to live.”

Mr Boardman said: “This is all about enabling people to leave their cars at home and enjoy local journeys on foot or by bike.

“Active Travel England is going to make sure high-quality spaces for cycling, wheeling and walking are delivered across all parts of England, creating better streets, a happier school run and healthier, more pleasant journeys to work and the shops.”

Xavier Brice, chief executive of charity Sustrans, which manages the National Cycle Network, said investment in the routes will make “walking, wheeling and cycling a safer, more convenient and more accessible travel option for everyone”.

He added: “The network is a national asset that is loved locally.”

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