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City and county win £3.2m sustainable transport boost

Published on Thursday, January 26, 2017

EFFORTS to promote sustainable transport in Leicester and Leicestershire have been given a huge boost with the award of over £3milllion of Government cash.

The city and county councils have successfully bid for a share of the Government’s £60million Sustainable Transport Access Fund, designed to encourage more people to walk or cycle to work, schools and colleges.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP confirmed the successful bid as part of a national announcement made during a visit to Leicester today (26 Jan), where he was shown improvements made for pedestrians and cyclists as part of the Connecting Leicester project.

The £3.2milllion joint award for Leicester and Leicestershire – called 'Choose How You Move' – will support a three-year programme of sustainable transport schemes focussing on the west of the city and neighbouring areas of the county.

In the city, the project will target New Parks, Braunstone and Leicester City Centre, and will include the Waterside, Pioneer Park and Grove Park regeneration areas.

Work in the county will cover Anstey, Glenfield and Groby, and include Meridian Business Park, Fosse Park and the proposed Lubbesthorpe housing development.

Businesses in the targeted areas will be offered support to help their staff travel more sustainably. This will include grants of up to £5,000 of match-funding to support local employers’ own walking and cycling schemes, along with a programme of travel planning advice and support for staff which aims to reach over 140,000 people per year.

The Wheels to Work scheme will also be extended. This offers electric bikes, pedal cycles and electric scooters for hire to anyone aged over 16 who has a confirmed placement in work, education or training – but no way of getting there.

A feasibility study into the potential for a future cycle share scheme will also be carried out.

Schools will also benefit from further investment in schemes to promote walking and cycling to school, with the new funding paying for a programme of activity that aims to reach over 23,000 pupils over the next three years. This will complement the ongoing programme of Bikeability cycle training and Living Streets’ popular Walk to School scheme.

Local residents in the targeted areas will also be offers personalised travel planning advice designed to raise awareness of improvements to local cycling and walking routes and encourage more sustainable transport choices.

The ‘Choose How You Move’ travel advice website will also be refreshed and more widely promoted as an online hub for local travel information and journey planning tools.

In addition, the funding will help pay for a continued programme of led bike rides and walking events, with £330,000 earmarked for the city’s annual Ride Leicester festival.

Cllr Adam Clarke, assistant city mayor for energy and sustainability, said: “This is fantastic news for the city and a huge boost for our efforts to promote walking and cycling.

“This new funding will allow us to extend and deliver more sustainable transport projects to help improve access to jobs, training and education, and will build on the major investment already being made across the city to create safer and more attractive routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Encouraging more people to walk and cycle is not just good for the economy; it has clear health benefits, helps cut congestion and plays an important part in improving the city’s environment as a whole.”

Councillor Peter Osborne, the county council's cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "This is great news as it will help to further cement our partnership with the city in providing alternative travel options for people.

“It's clear there have already been benefits from the work done so far in other parts of the county and we want to continue to support people who are making their journeys by bus, bike and on foot. This also eases congestion and provides additional health benefits."

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “We are committed to improving how people travel and this investment will ensure that people’s journeys are cheaper, safer and better for the environment. It will help people to become more active and better transport planning will reduce congestion on our roads – particularly at peak times.

“This investment will also help people access jobs, education and training - specifically targeting those looking to get back into work, as part of our relentless drive to make this a country that works for everyone.”

All English transport authorities (outside London) were invited to bid for the funding. The successful 'Choose How You Move' bid – which was led by Leicester City Council – was awarded the full amount bid for.