Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund, Transport Minister Grant Shapps MP announced today (9 May, 2020).

This is the first stage of a £2 billion investment, as part of the £5 billion in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February.

Following unprecedented levels of walking and cycling across the UK during the pandemic, the plans will help encourage more people to choose alternatives to public transport when they need to travel, making healthier habits easier and helping make sure the road, bus and rail networks are ready to respond to future increases in demand.

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Jenni Wiggle, Interim Chief Executive, Living Streets comments: 

"It is vital pavement widening happens to ensure people can keep a safe distance from others without being forced into the road and oncoming traffic. It is encouraging to see a number of local authorities already reallocating road space from cars to active travel. Now, more than ever before, it's important we reduce the barriers to exercise, travel healthily, and ensure our public spaces are fit for the future. This investment will help more local authorities to do this.

"Now is the time to plan out public space for the future. We all need to walk more and drive less to tackle the crises of public health, traffic congestion, air pollution and climate change.

"We need secure, long-term funding for walking and cycling to create a healthier and cleaner country. This is a great start on the road to better streets for all."

Now is the time to plan out public space for the future. We all need to walk more and drive less to tackle the crises of public health, traffic congestion, air pollution and climate change.

Jenni Wiggle, Living Streets

On behalf of the Walking and Cycling Alliance (comprising Bicycle Association, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, The Ramblers and Sustrans), Xavier Brice, CEO, Sustrans said:

“We welcome the UK Government’s immediate commitment of £250 million for new pop-up protected cycle lanes, the widening of footways and to support car free, cycling, bus and walking streets to allow for social distancing as we begin to move out of lockdown.

“Public transport systems are vital but will not be able to operate at full capacity for some time due to social distancing. Our towns and cities can’t cope with the increased private car journeys this could cause. Instead we must increase walking and cycling. This won’t just help with social distancing. This will help with tackling the climate crisis, air pollution and public health, decreasing the burden on our NHS.

“This funding is a first step that allows more local authorities to put temporary measures in place so more people can move around safely and actively as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis. The full £2 billion announced to increase walking and cycling in the longer-term, with a plan to support this funding expected in June, is the next step in helping to create real long-term change in the way we move around our towns and cities and should also be used to help support new and returning cyclists get used to riding again.

“As we begin to rebuild after this devastating Covid-19 pandemic, we encourage all Local Authorities to use this funding as soon as possible to make the changes needed. The Walking and Cycling Alliance is here to help and share our expertise with the public and local authorities as we adapt to and create changing environments, whether its tips for cycling and walking or helping to put new infrastructure in place.

“It is imperative going forward that we don’t solve one crisis by perpetuating others and instead create healthier, happier and greener places that we all want to live in.”