Conservative government’s £5bn package will create new era for cycling and walking in Brighton and Hove
The Conservative government has announced the largest ever boost for cyclists and pedestrians in England and has already started to work with local authorities to roll out the first stage – a £250 million emergency active travel fund to improve cycling infrastructure.
This means that that improvements such as pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors can be put in place in Brighton and Hove within weeks.
The Conservative group of councillors is taking the lead in making suggestions for the use of this funding in Brighton and Hove and our suggestions are currently being reviewed by council officers.
Some streets could become bike and bus-only while others remain available for motorists.
More side streets could be closed to through traffic, to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and reduce rat-running while maintaining access for vehicles.
To provide the opportunity for people to get on their bikes, the Conservative government has also announced that vouchers will be issued for cycle repairs to encourage people to get their old bikes out of the shed – and plans are being developed for greater provision of bike-fixing facilities.
This will also be great news for the many bike shops in the city that have stayed open throughout the pandemic.
Many more will take up the Cycle to Work scheme, which gives employees a discount on a new bike.
The government will also support a trial of rental e-scooters to help encourage more people off public transport and onto greener alternatives.
And all this is just the first stage £5 billion in new funding announced by the Conservative government for cycling and buses – unprecedented support for local cycling infrastructure.
During this crisis, millions of people have discovered cycling – whether for exercise or as a means of safe socially distanced transport.
When the country does fully get back to work, we need those people to stay on their bikes and be joined by many more.
Otherwise, with public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked, holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies.
We know cars will continue to remain vital for many but, as we look to the future, we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air and healthier communities.
It is the Conservative government that will be at the forefront of providing this opportunity in Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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