Government invests £214m in cycling schemes to help cut air pollution
The UK Government will introduce a package of measures totalling £214m in a bid to help double the number of bicycle journeys made by 2020.
The largest single investment in cycling, announced by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at a cycling summit today (27 November), will be allocated as follows:
– £114m will support the Cycling Ambition Cities programme to develop local cycling networks, increase protection for cyclists at junctions and traffic hot spots and help prevent accidents
– £100m will help improve conditions for cyclists and walkers travelling alongside the Strategic Road Network – Britain’s busiest roads
The latest fund brings the total amount Government investment in cycling to £588m.
In February, the European Commission launched legal proceedings against the UK for its failure to cut air pollution.
In July, the Government published figures stating that the level of nitrogen dioxide, principally emitted by diesel vehicles, in London, Birmingham and Leeds will exceed European limits until at least 2030.
After continuously failing to comply with EU pollution legal limits, the European Court of Justice ruled against the UK in November, following a case brought by environmental NGO ClientEarth.
As well as improving health, reducing road deaths and increasing retail sales, the investment should ameliorate the high level of air pollution in the UK and lessen the impact of travel on the environment.
Nick Clegg said: “The rewards could be massive. Billions of pounds in savings for the NHS, less pollution and congestion, and a happier and safer population.
“In government, we’re putting the money down: now we need the public and local authorities to jump on their bikes and get us to the finish line.”
As well as the investment, Clegg will launch two initiatives to help encourage children to take up cycling: a scheme from Halfords to recondition and donate bikes and helmets to disadvantaged children; and a pilot scheme to expand the Bikeability cycle training programme.
Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman MBE, who attended the summit, said: “The next step, building on today’s announcement, is to make investment like this one a permanent, embedded and an ongoing part of our transport strategy. If we do, then the benefits for our nation’s health, wealth and environment will be monumental.”
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