£38.97 million has been allocated to local authorities in Scotland for pop-up walking and cycling infrastructure through the Spaces for People initiative.
After the closure of the fund, all remaining applications have now been assessed to help enable physical distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, through measures such as widened pavements and temporary cycle lanes. The initiative is already helping people to keep safe by allowing for two-metre physical distancing when walking and wheeling, whilst also supporting an increase in cycling rates.
With this fund now closed and emergency measures in place or being developed, attention has now returned to permanent active travel infrastructure in Scotland, both in terms of new schemes and, where appropriate, building on this temporary infrastructure.
These permanent schemes are also funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Sustrans through the Places for Everyone programme. To further support local authorities to build permanent active travel infrastructure, the Scottish Government is reducing the match funding rate for the Places for Everyone programme from 50% to 30%.
“To support our green recovery and keep people walking, wheeling and cycling, we’ve reduced the amount that local authorities need to contribute towards permanent infrastructure across Scotland,” said Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson.
“The Places for Everyone initiative is already producing some very innovative and ambitious projects – but we recognise that costs can be prohibitive for some councils and especially in the context of COVID-19.
“Many local authorities are keen to learn lessons from the temporary infrastructure delivered through the nearly £39 million we have provided. With this improved funding offer for permanent schemes, councils will be able to match their insight with their ambition and deliver high quality infrastructure to help us build an Active Nation and encourage healthier and more sustainable travel.”
John Lauder, Deputy CEO of Sustrans and executive director for Scotland said: “The huge interest and demand in our Spaces for People fund over the past few months, has made it clear that people recognise the importance and benefits which come with travelling actively and sustainably for everyday journeys and exercise.
“However, we also know that perceptions of safety, and the lack of choices for quiet or traffic-free walking and cycling routes to key destinations, is a key barrier to people considering a viable alternative to their car.
“We hope that the reduction in the match funding requirement for our Places for Everyone programme will now make it even easier for applicants to design and build infrastructure which makes it easier and safer for more people to walk, cycle and wheel for everyday journeys, to help deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for everyone.”
Read the August issue of BikeBiz below: