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Downing Street’s ‘new’ active travel funding is needed, but nothing new

Claims of a boost to investment in walking and cycling are misleading, with money already promised and deep cuts still looming.

Westminster has announced £200m active travel funding for England, with the hope of creating 16million more walking and cycling trips across the country each year. 120miles of cycling tracks targeting underserved rural areas have been trumpeted in particular, with claims this will pay for 130 schemes, helping more than 35,000 children get to school on pedal power.

However, many have pointed out that despite UK Government claims, the new spending is actually anything but, with investment already promised to local authorities in February. Meanwhile, cuts to expenditure in this area were then announced in March, amounting to an overall two-thirds reduction in capital dedicated to improving active travel infrastructure over the next two years. As a result of this, it is now believed that official aims of moving 50% of all urban journeys to cycling or walking is now impossible.

‘Today’s allocation of previously committed active travel funding is, of course, welcome news for ambitious local authorities and we’re excited to see their transformational projects take shape,’ said Matt Winfield, Executive Director at Sustrans England, Northern Ireland and Wales, the national charity for active travel.

‘However, the devil is in the detail as active travel funding cuts announced in March mean investment will plummet over the next two years. This will put the UK back years in our collective goal of improving public health, cutting carbon emissions and supporting local economic growth,’ he added.

More on active travel funding:

England’s 1/3 active travel budget cuts leave ‘net zero in tatters’

Can public right of way play into the country’s net zero ambitions?

International Women’s Day: Mind the active travel gap

Manchester’s new strategy aims to make walking the ‘natural choice’

Image: Paul Flannery

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