York and Southport become Cycle Demonstration towns.
York and Southport, both on the TPT have been named as new cycling demonstration towns in a £100m government scheme aimed at encouraging cycling. These are two of the 11 towns and one city chosen to take part in the initiative this year out of over 70 that applied.
The Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said the scheme would help tackle growing levels of obesity in the UK. 'For most people, a great way to keep healthy is by building physical activity into everyday life, such as cycling to work or school. The first step in persuading people to leave their cars at home is to offer them a real choice.'
Six other English towns and cities have held demonstration area status since 2005; the Department for Transport says they have seen a significant increase in cycling.
The successful York City Council bid will mean that the authority will receive £20 per person to develop cycling infrastructure, increase training and promote cycling as a means of transport - a total of £3.68m up to March 2011. Increases in the number of people actively cycling in York will bring a wide range of benefits to the city, including:
- reduced traffic levels and associated congestion;
- improved air quality;
- better accessibility through the provision of more cycle routes and parking facilities;
- improved road safety through more training of cyclists (both children and adults) and less traffic;
- improved fitness levels of the population, and;
- reduced levels of obesity in both children and adults.
Bill Woolley, director of City Strategy at the council, said: 'We are delighted to have been selected by the government to take forward this new initiative. Over the next three years the people of York will see a new emphasis on cycling in the city with new and imaginative schemes being progressed that will enhance the cycle network and provide additional facilities for cyclists.'
Southport has won its ambitious £5 million bid to become an official Cycling Town. Cycling England will now pledge around £2 million for Southport over three years which will be matched by funding from other sources.
The investment will allow Sefton to work with developers and other partners such as Sefton PCT to create an environment where visitors and residents instinctively travel around the resort by bike. A select number of new high quality cycle routes will be created, providing access to the town centre, seafront, and the key development sites to the east of the town. Road space will also be re-allocated on some routes to provide an infrastructure where families and novice cyclists feel confident to travel around the resort by bike.
There will also be concentrated publicity and marketing campaign to support an expanded programme of cycle training which will include every high school in the Southport area.
Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton's Cabinet Member for Technical Services, said: 'This is absolutely fantastic news for Southport and Ainsdale - and the thousands of residents and visitors who are set to benefit. The Southport area is very flat and blessed with a wonderful coastline which makes it absolutely perfect for cycling.'