Britain increases funding to promote cycling
The coalition government has announced a record amount of investment to promote cycling to encourage greener, cheaper and healthier way of transport in England.
On 30 January, Transport Minister Norman Baker detailed a £62m ($98m, €72m) funding for England, excluding London, to make travelling on two wheels more attractive for people throughout the country.
The funding is part of the £107m aid for cycling announced by the government over the past 12 months.
"We are serious about cycling, as this latest wave of funding shows. We have already seen how schemes can quickly deliver economic and environmental benefits, as well as improving public health," Baker said in a statement.
The record level of funding will provide "a shot in the arm to cycling in England," according to the minister.
The department for transport allocated £57m for basic infrastructure to make cycling easier and safer. The remaining £5m will be used to tackle dangerous junctions.
Under the plan, up to three cities will be invited to bid for a fund of up to £30m to promote cycling in urban areas. A £12m funding will be given to local authorities working in partnership with national parks, while a £15m additional aid is given to the Community Linking Places Fund to support cycle-rail integration and enhance community cycling.
Further, the government will spend £500,000 for a cycle hub at Brighton station offering 500 new cycle parking spaces, cycle hire, changing facilities and a cycle repair workshop.
The latest funding will also help the proposed cycle hubs at Redhill, Upminster, Nottingham and Leicester stations which will see hundreds of new cycle parking places and bikes for hire. The scheme to build a high quality cycle route network for Leeds city centre will be helped as well.
The UK's leading cycle campaign group British Cycling has welcomed the funding package, but it expressed concerns that the money could be wasted if it is not backed by further investments in the future.
"We welcome this development and it's a credit to Norman Baker that he is securing this increased funding for cycling infrastructure - but what we need is long term, sustained investment and a strategy to put cycling at the heart of transport policy," British Cycling's policy director, Martin Gibbs, said in a statement.
"The total funding package works out at less than £1 pound per head of the population. The Dutch spend £25 pounds per head per year and have been doing so for decades. Cycling is now part of their culture with 43% of people in Amsterdam cycling to work. We need to match that level of funding to get Britain cycling."
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