Hertfordshire County Council has successfully bid for £313,000 from the Department of Transport’s (DfT) Local Authority Capability Fund.
The funding, which is part of the Government’s Active Travel programme, will help the council to plan, design, consult and develop more county-wide cycle and walking infrastructure schemes. The council will also work with the pedestrian charity Living Streets to support and encourage school children and parents to walk to school more often.
Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment, said: “This funding helps us to push ahead with our commitment to promote active and sustainable modes of travel across the county, making it easier for people to leave the car at home, and support those who want to change their travelling habits.
‘’It will help deliver on commitments to improve air quality, sustainability and health and reduce carbon emissions. It will also help us to take advantage of future funding opportunities to further improve walking and cycling infrastructure in Hertfordshire.”
Several initiatives will be supported through the funding, including:
- An increase in the number of British Cycling participation schemes, offering adult and child cycle training and led rides, including free loan bikes for those who don’t have one.
- Cycle maintenance and storage facilities, for schools, cycle hubs and proposed Sustainable Travel Towns
- Working with Living Streets to employ local coordinators to support a new initiative; The School Walk, encouraging sustainable travel to and from school
- Planning, design and consultation of a trial Low Traffic Neighbourhood in St Albans and the ongoing design of extensions to a proposed cycle route along North Road in Stevenage
Hannah Sangan, Community Activator for British Cycling said: ‘The funding provided will help support the growth and delivery of British Cycling’s HSBC UK Let’s Ride programmes. These aim to increase the number of opportunities that people can get involved in, allowing them to gain confidence in using their local cycling infrastructure.
‘’In April 2021 there was a 63% increase in the number of led rides available to the community through HSBC UK Guided Rides and Breeze Rides compared to April 2019. This additional funding will continue to support the growth and participation of these rides by increasing the number of local Ride Leaders, and by providing beginner ‘Sofa to Saddle’ courses.’’
Julia Crear, Head of Projects and Technical Services for the pedestrian charity, Living Streets, said: ‘‘We are delighted that the funding received will be used to deliver a pilot of ‘The School Walk’ project for Hertfordshire. A project which aims to take appropriate aspects of the ‘School Streets’ concept and adapts them for school communities. This behaviour change project will work to encourage active travel to and from school.
‘‘Hertfordshire County Council and Living Streets have a longstanding partnership. They are the first local authority to work with us on a pilot ‘Walk to School’ initiative, demonstrating that Hertfordshire is a leader in encouraging active travel to school.’’
Hertfordshire County Council currently delivers Bikeability training and support to up to 9,000 adults and children each year. This funding allows significant uplift and widening of scope.