The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s response to the PM’s announcement to kickstart £2bn cycling and walking revolution

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Committee, responds to the Prime Minister’s announcement to kickstart a £2bn cycling and walking revolution.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement to kickstart a £2bn cycling and walking revolution today (Tuesday 28 July), Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said:

“We welcome the publication of the new cycle design guidance and the Government’s plan for future investment.  This will help us build on the significant progress we’ve already made to enable more people to travel by bike and on foot, and plan to make in the future through our £317 million Transforming Cities Fund announced earlier this year.

“Emerging information is showing we need to increase both cycling and walking trips by at least 2,000% and 78% respectively to achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038. Long-term, sustainable and flexible Government funding is absolutely vital in helping us meet these ambitions, as well as building on our existing programme of Mini-Holland schemes. 

“Encouraging increasing numbers of us to consider cycling and walking is more important than ever as we look to address the health, transport and economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“From connecting people across our region, to reducing air pollution and congestion, and combatting physical inactivity and obesity, we know increasing the numbers of people choosing to travel by bike or on foot has a vital role to play in making West Yorkshire a great place to live, work and play.”

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is working in partnership with local authorities to deliver a package of emergency measures, including trial cycling and walking infrastructure, to help people move around the region safely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This work includes both short and longer-term proposals, which are being submitted to Government to access £12.5 million funding for West Yorkshire through the Emergency Active Travel Fund.

An online map has also been created for residents to highlight areas where improvements are needed to help more people travel by bike or on foot.

In partnership with others, the Combined Authority is not only building new cycling and walking routes and improving existing infrastructure, it is also helping people change the way they travel through a series of initiatives, including free adult cycle training, as well as support for businesses, schools and grassroots initiatives.

More than 1,000 people across West Yorkshire have boosted their mental health through physical activity over the past four years thanks to the Combined Authority’s ground-breaking referral scheme in partnership with Cycling UK, which sees patients being prescribed cycling by health care professionals. 

More than 1,860 people have benefitted from the Combined Authority’s free adult cycle training, which has been shown to help tackle transport and health inequalities across West Yorkshire, with more than a quarter of participants (27%) living in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country*.

For more information about the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, which has overseen £60m in investment in cycling and walking schemes across the region over the past five years, visit cyclecityconnect.co.uk/cityconnect-at-five.

*27% of attendees live in the 10% most disadvantaged areas in the country, according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation