Government grant boost for city cyclists

Birmingham’s ambition to become a bike friendly city is now tantalisingly close to being realised with the announcement on Monday that the city has been awarded a massive government grant of £17 million. The grant, which is part of £77 million being awarded nationally through the Department of Transport’s Cycle City Ambition scheme, will be further boosted by £7 million from Birmingham City Council.

The city can now push forward with a two-year plan to triple the number of city cyclists, revamp canal towpaths and create or upgrade 130 miles of off and on-road routes. The council also aims to build upon already successful cycling schemes such as Bike North Birmingham by implementing similar projects across the city.

Sustainability West Midlands Board Member Cllr James McKay who is responsible for green initiatives spoke of the council’s decision to award funding to the scheme by saying, “We fully recognise there is untapped potential for cycling to become an integral part of our transport network – for both commuting and leisure purposes – and want to exploit it.”

Cycling groups have responded positively to the news; Georgia Stokes from Northfield Ecocentre summed up the feeling by saying: “This is fantastic news for the city. We know from delivering cycling activities and launching the Cycle South Birmingham that many people are keen to cycle but are put off by a number of reasons”.

Yesterday’s announcement was originally expected in June; however it is believed that the government was so impressed by the bid from Birmingham, extra funding was secured before the project was announced.

Following recent successes for Britain in the Tour de France, Olympics and paralymic games the popularity of cycling has soared. The news of this investment is a fantastic opportunity for the West Midlands and the UK as a whole to ensure this enthusiasm continues unabated; making cycling a viable and accepted mode of transport for everyone.

For more information on the incentive visit GOV.UK.