A five year project, supported with National Lottery Good Cause funding, has developed 84 walking and cycling routes to encourage motorists to switch to cycling and walking for short journeys.
This extension of the National Cycle Network, linking up communities, has seen the number of people cycling and walking increase by 73 per cent in the relevant areas, according to Sustrans.
Four million people now live within a mile of the new walking and cycling networks, which provide access to 2,800 schools, 800 supermarkets, 1,000 doctors’ surgeries and 3,000 places of worship.
“The National Cycle Network now passes within a mile of 55 per cent of UK homes, so it’s easier than ever before to ditch the car and switch to cycling and walking for short journeys," sais Sustrans chief exec Malcolm Shepherd.
“These new routes will make a huge difference to millions of people, but more investment and changes to our daily habits are needed if we are to reach our goal of making four out of five local journeys by bike, foot or public transport by 2020.”
The Pedal on UK tour this summer – mimicking last year’s Olympic torch relay – will encourage the use of the networks.
Celebrities have been drafted in to take part as Pedal On UK passes through towns and cities across the nation, which will be supported by free communital festivals in each region.
Big Lottery Fund chair, Peter Ainsworth, said: “Pedal On UK from Sustrans is a perfect example of what the Big Lottery Fund’s Spirit of 2012 campaign is all about.
“Inspired by the London Games Makers and the success of Team GB’s cyclists, this volunteer-led event will span the UK, bringing communities together as it goes and ensuring that the feel-good factor from the amazing summer of 2012 lasts until the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and beyond.
“We can’t all ride like Sir Chris Hoy or Sarah Storey but thanks to projects like Pedal On UK, everyone can get active, have fun and discover everything our local environment has to offer.”