The West of England will receive a £2.2million boost from the Government funding to encourage more people to take up sustainable travel such as cycling and walking.
The money was awarded by the Department for Transport to help the four West of England councils – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – to continue to invest in sustainable travel. The successful local authorities demonstrated they could cut emissions, support social and economic growth and increase cycling and walking in their areas.
The news has come after First Bus withdrew some of its bus serving more rural areas of North Somerset, which connected villages with other transport links such as the rail network. The A2 service was shortened on 24 April, and no longer travels on past the airport on to Backwell, Nailsea, and Portishead.
The funding for North Somerset is part of £20.6m that is being given out nationally for 23 sustainable travel initiatives across England that boost local economies by offering cheap, clean and healthy travel options, helping people to access jobs and education opportunities. North Somerset Council has successfully bid for £415,000 from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Sustainable Transport Transition Year fund.
The Government funding is in addition to nearly £6million of local investment by the councils and will fund a programme focused on changing daily travel behaviours.
Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader of North Somerset Council and executive member for highways and transport, said: “It’s excellent news that we have once again received funding from the DfT, showing how well we work at promoting sustainable travel to communities and businesses across the district.
Cllr Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport at Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Supporting alternatives to the car is a key theme in the Getting Around Bath Transport Strategy, and features in the emerging transport strategies for Keynsham, Chew Valley and Somer Valley.”
Some of the schemes that the funding will help to support include:
• providing business grants for sustainable travel
• signing and promoting newly completed shared use paths
• incentives such as free bus ‘taster’ tickets for employees, personalised travel planning and loan bikes for businesses
• supporting residents to help them access key services and employment
• promoting walking and cycling in schools, new and existing communities and businesses.
What do you think? How could the council spend its money to help you travel more sustainably? Comment below or get in touch to let us know your views.