The Secretary of State for Transport today announced the new drive in an attempt to tackle road congestion and improve air quality as well as create more opportunities for exercise.
the programme fulfils commitments to increase investment in sustainable transport initiatives, outlined in 'Towards a Sustainable Transport System'.
The money will be invested over the next three years and forms part of the Government's forthcoming strategy to tackle obesity.
- create up to a further 10 Cycling Demonstration Towns in England, as well as the first large Demonstration City. This will mean nearly 3 million people will have the chance to benefit from best practice and promotion of cycling. Six Cycling Demonstration Towns; Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster with Morecombe, are already in operation. Cycling England will be seeking bids for the new Cycle Demonstration Towns and City in spring 2008/9.
- allow an extra 500,000 10 year-olds to take part in Bikeability cycle training by 2012, equipping them to cycle safely and responsibly
- build another 250 Safe Links to Schools, connecting around 500 more schools to the National Cycle Network. Many schools with links have already doubled the number of pupils cycling to school.
"Cycling brings many benefits, both for the individual in terms of health and fitness and for the local community as it helps tackle congestion and improve local air quality," said Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly.
"Being able to cycle safely is an important life skill and I want to give more children the opportunity to do it and encourage more adults to reach for their bikes. By 2012, I expect 500,000 more children to have been able to learn the necessary skills so that they cycle safely and responsibly. This will give parents reassurance that their children are suitably equipped to use the roads and enjoy their bikes."
The funding package will go to Cycling England, the body set up by Government to promote cycling, to continue their successful work.
"Cycling England has produced compelling evidence to show that increased and sustained levels of investment in cycling can make a substantial impact," said Chairman of Cycling England, Phillip Darnton.
"We are delighted that the Government has acted and believe today's announcement will make a real difference to the way we travel - to school, work and the station. The expansion of Bikeability training will give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride on today's roads. The bicycle really does have a role in helping meet England's transport challenges. It is now taking its place as a proper mode of transport."