Norman Baker, the minister in charge of walking and cycling, has said he is providing £836,000 of additional funding to cycling in this financial year. This will pay for some of the projects created by Cycling England, the organisation scrapped in the 'bonfire of the quangos' and which ceases to exist on March 31st.
Baker said the £836,000 would enable implementation of a number of projects for Cycle Towns and for three Train Operating Companies to enhance their bike and rail schemes. This "exceptional" decision has been made possible "due to prudent management of Departmental expenditure, including additional efficiencies made this year," said Baker.
The chosen Cycle Town projects Blackpool, Bristol, Cambridge, Colchester, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Leighton Linslade, South Glos, Southend, Shrewsbury, Woking and York have been assessed as capable of being delivered within the current financial year whilst offering value for money.
Baker: "I believe this additional funding will assist in meeting the overall aims of the project to get more people cycling safely. All the recommended projects fit well with the strategic objectives of the towns concerned and will increase the effectiveness of their existing programmes in generating additional cyclists."
On the cycle-to-rail programmes, he said:
"The three Train Operating Companies, Merseyrail, South West Trains and Northern Rail, have worked hard, in partnership with local authorities and other organisations, including Sustrans and Network Rail, to deliver high-quality infrastructure improvements accompanied by promotional activities. This is with the aim of encouraging more cycling to railway stations and to deliver improved integration of bike and rail journeys. This money will enable further enhancements to these schemes."
The £836,000 is in addition to the £560m Local Sustainable Transport Fund, a four year fund for walking, cycling, car-share and bus schemes.
"This additional funding demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to cycling, recognising its potential contribution to reducing carbon emissions, improving health and creating economic growth," said Baker.