Dr Ben Spencer MP has welcomed news that Surrey is set to receive an additional £6.4 million from the Government’s Active Travel Fund – designed to create safe space for cycling and walking. The money will be provided to Surrey County Council and could be used to fund measures such as School Streets, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and segregated cycle lanes. In total, £175 million is being allocated to local authorities across England in the latest round of allocations from the fund.
Commenting, Dr Ben Spencer said:
With fewer people travelling and commuting in recent months, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people opting to walk or get on their bike when moving around. We all know walking and cycling is better for us, but our infrastructure has not always kept pace with our ambition.
Surrey has now been allocated over £7.2 million in total from the Active Travel Fund. I’m delighted residents across Surrey will benefit from this opportunity to make our local area more bike and pedestrian-friendly, while maintaining the access and space other road users still need.
Following discussions with local MPs, the Government has stipulated that councils receiving money will have to meet tough new conditions to ensure that schemes are properly thought out and that their impact on other road users are closely weighed up. Councils will also have longer to spend the money, ensuring there is time to consult local communities.
Cllr Matt Furniss, Surrey Cabinet Member for Highways, said:
We’re delighted that the government has recognised our ambitious programme to support walking and cycling safely in Surrey by allocating us the third highest amount of local authority funding.
We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged our residents to walk and cycle more. We want to keep our residents moving across the county and ensure that they continue to reap the benefits of outdoor activities on both their mental and physical health.
With transportation responsible for 46% of Surrey’s carbon emissions, we are also committed to encouraging more active travel to help our environment. By using our cars less, we can reduce congestion across our network and improve air quality.
Also commenting, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
It has been great to see so many people build cycling and walking into their daily travel habits. To support them, we know it’s vital to have the right infrastructure in place so everyone–cyclists, pedestrians and motorists – can use our roads.
This funding will help further realise that ambition, but councils must engage with communities to develop schemes that work for everyone–those that haven’t won’t be able to take their plans forward.
The Conservative Government has pledged a revolution in walking and cycling as part of its plans to level up the whole county, with the Prime Minister pledging a record £2 billion investment to double cycling and increase walking by 2025. This comes on top of more than £27 billion that will be invested in England’s roads over the next five years, ensuring the road network is safe, reliable and efficient.