BCP Council has been successful in securing an extra £247,000 grant from Central Government to help encourage cycling and walking in the conurbation. The money has been awarded from the Department for Transport’s Capability Fund and is ringfenced specifically for activities that promote active travel.
The funds will be used to provide an additional ‘Bike it’ Officer to help bring more cycling training to schools. It will also be used to help local businesses encourage their staff to come back to work on a bike or to walk, expand and extend the council’s ‘New You’ campaign and give easier access to bike maintenance and tagging.
Councillor Mike Greene, BCP Council’s portfolio holder for transport and the environment said:
“This is great news and will allow us to robustly support our Transforming Travel programme. We have learned from successful schemes in other local authorities that major change in the way people travel takes a while to bed in and needs the support of good public engagement, training and communications. This money will be very helpful in achieving this.
“Congestion is a major problem in South East Dorset and our road network is at saturation point. But by removing just a few vehicles, it could potentially unlock our roads and significantly improve traffic flow. By persuading even a modest number of people to switch to cycling or walking, for just some of their journeys, it could make a really big difference in our region.
“Already, over this past year, we have seen cycling on British roads increase by 45.7% to 5 billion miles. We really want to make use of this forward momentum and help encourage more people to make the sustainable change and leave the car at home.”
BCP and Dorset Councils are currently investing over £100m in new sustainable transport infrastructure in south east Dorset through their Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) programme, which is largely funded by a £79m Department for Transport TCF grant. This includes 78km of new cycle lanes, pedestrian pavements and bus service improvements. It is a major part of the Transforming Travel programme, which aims to encourage people to leave the car at home and adopt other forms of active or public transport, particularly for shorter local journeys.