Plans to encourage more people to walk and cycle in Swindon have gained more momentum after Swindon Borough Council was awarded £366,000 by the Department for Transport.
The money will be used by the Council’s Swindon Travel Choices team to promote everyday cycling, but will also focus on encouraging walking and cycling both to school and work.
It will support the Council’s newly adopted Cycling Framework, which aims to double the number of cyclists in the town within 10 years. The Government grant will form part of the Swindon Sustainable Transport project, which was awarded £1.25 million by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Project (SWLEP) to build improved cycle routes and cycling infrastructure within Swindon.
The Council has recently completed a number of pedestrian and cycle routes including the Western and Southern Flyers and plans are in place to build an Eastern Flyer, which will link the New Eastern Villages area to the town centre.
The funding will allow Swindon Travel Choices to continue its cycle loan scheme, run cycle challenge programmes and support schools to develop accredited travel plans. There will also be an emphasis on training adult Travel Champions and up to 100 pupil Travel Ambassadors as well as delivering pedestrian training to 5,000 primary school pupils.
More than 10,000 employees working in key Swindon businesses will be targeted in an attempt to encourage sustainable travel to and from work and electronic Personal Travel Planning advice will also be delivered, along with training for Travel Champions.
The Council was one of 23 sustainable travel initiatives nationally to receive part of £20.6 million in funding from the Department of Transport.
Successful local authorities demonstrated they could cut emissions, support social and economic growth and increase cycling and walking in their areas.
Cllr Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability, Highways and Transport, said: “Swindon Council is becoming good at lobbying for funding to improve transport schemes.
“We secured £42 million two years ago to improve our roads, then £1.25m to improve cycling links in East Swindon, and now £366,000 to encourage more people out of their cars and onto our pedestrian and cycle routes such as the West Swindon and Wichelstowe links into the town centre.
“Our recent cycling strategy was created by cyclists for cyclists, and the success in winning this grant so soon shows the value of our work with community groups like Swindon BUG.
“One in seven children cycle to school in Swindon, yet only one in 20 adults cycle to work. I want to see this figure increase significantly because it will not only promote active, healthy lifestyles, but it will also help reduce congestion on our roads. This money will allow us to continue our work with businesses and schools, and is certainly a step in the right direction.”
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Green transport cuts congestion and improves air quality. It also offers the cheapest and healthiest way for people to access jobs and education.
“Swindon’s green travel scheme will make a real difference for residents and help provide better air quality for everyone. Our £21m funding across England shows we are committed to improving lives through investment in sustainable transport.”
For further information about Swindon Travel Choices visit: www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk