Mark Whitehead 06 February 2023

Councils invited to bid for share of £200m active travel fund

Councils invited to bid for share of £200m active travel fund  image
Image: Michaelpuche / Shutterstock.com.

The Department for Transport has launched a £200m fund to boost walking and cycling, but council chiefs have criticised the use of competitive bids to distribute funding as ‘costly’.

Councils in England will be able to apply for grants to make improvements including more paths, safer routes for children to walk to school and better safety at junctions.

Funding will also be available for schemes to support people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Councils are being invited to consult residents and businesses to develop projects and the successful bids will be announced later this year.

The project is being managed for the Government’s executive agency Active Travel England.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said it would help reduce emissions, boost local economies and create jobs.

‘These new schemes will make it safer for children to walk to school and will better connect rural communities, helping more people choose active travel as an affordable and healthy way to get around.’

Active travel commissioner Chris Boardman said: ‘Sometimes it only takes relatively small changes, such as crossings on school routes or convenient places to park a bike, to give us the option to walk, wheel or ride.

‘Our job is to help local authorities across the country ensure that everyone has more attractive options for their daily trips and we are excited to help them deliver those options.’

Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association (LGA) Transport spokesperson, said: ‘It’s helpful that the Government recognises capacity constraints that councils face and this funding will support them with efforts to get more people out of their cars and using greener forms of transport.

‘However, funding must be delivered to where it is needed the most, not based on costly competitive bids between areas.’

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