Great leap forward for walking and cycling as Combined Authority Board signs over long-awaited Government cash
Following the Combined Authority’s successful bid for half a million pounds in Government funding for ‘active travel’, today’s meeting of the Combined Authority Board unanimously approved release of the grant to Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.
Chairing the Board, the Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, asked members to release the ‘Capability Fund’ grant from the Department for Transport – DfT – to the two Local Highways Authorities.
The DfT says it will pay the £558,268 award in one instalment to the Combined Authority in December. The sum will be split between the two highways authorities as a percentage share, based on the submission made by each.
Peterborough City Council receives £299,329 and Cambridgeshire County Council £258,939.
Award of the county’s Capability Fund allocation for 2021-2022 was originally held back by the Government and only released after Mayor Dr Johnson stepped in to hold positive talks with Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris. The Mayor was able to offer reassurance that, going forward, Cambridgeshire’s councils would support the principles and spirit of active travel for their communities.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson:
“It’s fantastic that these Government funds have now been won for Cambridgeshire and it’s all our job to ensure they make a difference here. This welcome grant puts fresh impetus behind the effort to bring about healthier living through physical activity and cleaner air. The climate crisis, the need to strive harder for public health and for safer, greener streets, mean we must offer alternatives to the car wherever possible if we are to be fit for the future.
“How we plan journeys, how we get to work and school can change our lives – and the Combined Authority will work with Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, Sustrans, and the Greater Cambridge Partnership to show the bad old ways a clean pair of heels.”
Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, Councillor Peter McDonald, said:
“The Joint Administration is committed to improving cycling and walking across the county and is planning a range of projects and initiatives that will help to make active travel the first choice for shorter journeys.
“This funding will play an important role in helping to develop and deliver these vital projects and form a key part of our ambition to speed up the achievement of net zero carbon for Cambridgeshire from the current target date of 2050 towards 2030.
“The funding will also boost existing projects, such as the award-winning work undertaken by our Road Safety Education Team in relation to school travel and road safety.”
Cabinet Member for Waste, Street Scene and the Environment at Peterborough City Council, Councillor Nigel Simons, said:
“In July 2019, we declared a climate emergency and have committed to help Peterborough become a net-zero carbon city by 2030.
“To achieve this, every community group, business and resident has an essential role to play. We are therefore delighted to have been awarded this funding, which will help deliver a wide range of ambitious active travel projects aimed at encouraging more residents out of their cars and using sustainable transport.
“These include workplace and school travel planning, active travel network design, community active travel engagement, cycle maintenance training and cycle security measures.”
The DfT award will be paid to the Combined Authority in the form of a revenue grant under Section 31 of the Local Government Act.