Richard has welcomed news that Central Bedfordshire is to receive an extra £600K and Bedford Borough and extra £363,750 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund – designed to create safe space for cycling and walking.
The money will be provided to the local councils and could be used to fund measures such as School Streets, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and segregated cycle lanes. In total, £175 million is being allocated to local authorities across England in the latest round of allocations from the fund.
Following discussions with local MPs, the Government has stipulated that councils receiving money will have to meet tough new conditions to ensure that schemes are properly thought out and that their impact on other road users are closely weighed up. Councils will also have longer to spend the money, ensuring there is time to consult local communities. If these conditions are not met, future funding allocations will be reduced and the Government could clawback some of the money already provided.
The Conservative Government has pledged a revolution in walking and cycling as part of its plans to level up the whole county, with the Prime Minister pledging a record £2 billion investment to double cycling and increase walking by 2025. This comes on top of more than £27 billion that will be invested in England’s roads over the next five years, ensuring the road network is safe, reliable and efficient.
Commenting, Richard said:
“As many of us have tried to avoid public transport in recent months, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people opting to walk or get on their bike when moving around. I’m delighted that Bedfordshire will benefit from additional funding to make our local area more bike and pedestrian-friendly. It's vital to have the right infrastructure in place so everyone – cyclists, pedestrians and motorists – can use our roads.
"I was pleased to raise with the Minister recently the ambitious active travel plans our local authorities have. This funding will ensure we can deliver the cycle and walkways needed to support existing and new housing development."