'Disappointment' as North Yorkshire council secures only half of active travel cash to boost walking and cycling

North Yorkshire County Council has expressed "disappointment” after failing to secure all the money it was being offered in the first round of a government fund aimed at getting more people cycling and walking.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 7:00 am

The authority has announced it has only secured half of the £266,000 it was allocated as part of the Department for Transport's (DfT) emergency active travel fund for projects including pop-up bike lanes, widened pavements and cycle-only corridors.

The county council added it is now preparing a bid for the second phase of the fund, when a larger sum of around £1.1million will be made available.

Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: "The allocation from this first tranche of funding is disappointing, but we will learn from this bid and are determined to take full advantage of the next phase of funding and beyond."

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The cash is for infrastructure projects to get more people cycling and walking.

Campaigners in Harrogate had called on the council to act quickly whilst cycling continues to see a surge in popularity during lockdown.

They had suggested closing streets to cars at school drop-off and pick-up times, introducing temporary cycle lanes and car free weekends as possible improvements.

But even before the council secured only 50 per cent of the government cash - it had warned it is being "realistic" about the plans and added the amount of money up for grabs will not be enough to fund major projects.

Other measures which are being considered include widening pedestrian crossings, encouraging walking and cycling to school, more cycle parking facilities and junction upgrades.

Separately, the council has also submitted a bid to the government for £3.3milllion to upgrade town centre footways.

Talks are also being held with Transport for the North and central government over a potential £75million package of improvements to cycling and walking facilities in Harrogate, Scarborough and Selby.

Coun Mackenzie said: “We will pursue any and all opportunities to secure funding to enhance the options available for North Yorkshire residents to use safe, efficient and well connected walking and cycling infrastructure and facilities.

“We understand and share the enthusiasm shown by many residents across the county for sustainable, active travel.”

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

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