The West of England has received £2.2million of Government funding to support its work encouraging more people to take up sustainable travel such as cycling and walking – and it could mean fewer HGV’s in the centre of Bath.
The money was awarded by the Department for Transport to help the four West of England councils – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – to continue to invest in sustainable travel.
The successful local authorities demonstrated they could cut emissions, support social and economic growth and increase cycling and walking in their areas.
Cllr Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Supporting alternatives to the car is a key theme in the Getting Around Bath Transport Strategy, and features in the emerging transport strategies for Keynsham, Chew Valley and Somer Valley.
We welcome this Government funding which allows us to progress plans for reducing HGVs in urban areas, supporting School Travel Plans, and providing low carbon and affordable transport options to unlock access to jobs and education opportunities.
“One of the key initiatives to benefit from this investment will be increasing participation in the Freight Consolidation Scheme, which accepts business deliveries to distribute in the city centre via a dedicated electric vehicle – thereby reducing the amount of HGVs in the centre of Bath.”
The Government funding is in addition to nearly £6million of local investment by the councils and will fund a programme focused on changing daily travel behaviours. Projects include:
· Engaging with schools across the region and supporting them with expertise, resources and a secure online facility for managing travel plans
· Supporting residents of Radstock and Midsomer Norton to guide design of cycle infrastructure which meets the needs of the community
· Working with employers across the region to improve their sustainable transport options for staff.
Projects designed to encourage people to change their travel behaviours include:
- Increasing participation in the Big Commuting Challenge event which encourages employees to leave their car at home for six weeks and try walking, cycling or public transport
- Further promotion of the Travel to Work Survey which provides councils and employers with valuable information on staff travel patterns
- Building on the ‘Wheels to Work’ scheme which provides access to loan bicycles and bus tickets to help those seeking work, skills or training.
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. Our £21m funding across England shows we are committed to improving lives through investment in sustainable transport.”