TPS welcomes the ambitious programme to get Britons on their bikes and to encourage more walking, thereby  keeping public transport safe as announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. 

A package worth £2 billion will be put towards walking and cycling schemes to "get Britain moving again" once lockdown is lifted, he said at the  Government press briefing.

Pop-up bike lanes, walking and bus-only streets will be fast-tracked immediately. While Cycle to Work and bike repair schemes will also get a boost to increase uptake.

The announcement comes after recent research revealed that social distancing measures will dramatically reduce passenger capacity across all public transport networks; with just one in ten passengers able to access services without risking overcrowding.

While "getting Britain moving again without overcrowding our public transport represents an enormous logistical challenge," Shapps said he was keen to seize the health opportunity, too.

This is an "opportunity to make lasting changes that will make us fitter but also better off both mentally and physically in the long run," Shapps said. "Our national recovery can also become a green recovery."

A  summary of the main points from the DfT can be read here. The main announcements include:

  • A national cycling and walking plan to be published in June.
  • Renewed commitment to double cycling and increase walking by 2025.
  • £2bn for cycling and walking (from the £5bn funding pot for buses and cycling announced in February).
  • £250million emergency fund for instant pop-up schemes (pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements. cycle and bus-only streets).
  • A new national cycling and walking champion and inspectorate.
  • Legal changes to protect vulnerable road users.
  • At least one “zero-emission city,” with its centre restricted to bikes and electric vehicles.
  • The creation of a long-term cycling programme and budget, just like the budget for roads.
  • E-scooter trials around England, from June.
  • A voucher scheme for bike repairs and maintenance, and plans to boost bike fixing facilities.
  • Much closer links with the NHS, with GPs prescribing cycling and exercise.
  • Higher standards for permanent infrastructure.

The most significant announcement in the new fast-track statutory guidance published today and effective immediately, is that councils are required to cater for significantly increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians by reallocating roadspace, and that the government can take control of highways powers from councils that don't comply. 

In welcoming the announcement Stephen Bennett, TPS Chair said:

As an organisation which has long been promoting active travel, the TPS welcomes the announcement by the Secretary of State to take action to boost levels of cycling and walking particularly for  journeys to work and that the measures proposed will become Government Policy.  We need to lock in these changes in travel behaviour permanently when the COVID 19 crisis abates to continue to benefit from a reduction in pollution and congestion as well as creating a healthier and fitter society. This is consistent with our ask of government to tackle climate change, and having a long term funding settlement for active travel. Transport planners are ready to work with Local Authorities and local stakeholders on the implementation of such sustainable solutions."




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