Today, I am announcing £836,000 of additional funding in this financial year to implement a number of small sustainable projects in the cycle towns and, separately, for three train operating companies to enhance their bike and rail schemes. This exceptional decision has been made possible due to prudent management of departmental expenditure, including additional efficiencies made this year.
The chosen cycle town projects—Blackpool, Bristol, Cambridge, Colchester, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Leighton Linslade, South Gloucestershire, Southend, Shrewsbury Woking and York—have been assessed as capable of being delivered within the current financial year while offering value-for-money. I believe this additional funding will assist in meeting the overall aims of the project to get more people cycling safely. All the recommended projects fit well with the strategic objectives of the towns concerned and will increase the effectiveness of their existing programmes in generating additional cyclists.
The three train operating companies, Merseyrail, South West Trains and Northern Rail, have worked hard, in partnership with local authorities and other organisations, including Sustrans and Network Rail, to deliver high-quality infrastructure improvements accompanied by promotional activities. This is with the aim of encouraging more cycling to railway stations and to deliver improved integration of bike and rail journeys. This money will enable further enhancements to these schemes.
Today’s announcement complements, and is in addition to, our recently launched local sustainable transport fund which allows local authorities to bid for a share of £560 million over four years, aimed at encouraging sustainable transport solutions, including cycling initiatives, that will create economic growth and cut carbon.
This additional funding demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to cycling, recognising their potential contribution to reducing carbon emissions, improving health and creating economic growth.