Active Travel Fund
On behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee (NEJTC), Transport North East has worked tirelessly to support walking and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is at a time when walking and cycling levels in the North East have increased considerably.
Recognising the importance of walking and cycling during the pandemic, the Government announced the Active Travel Fund in May 2020, which is being delivered in multiple tranches. The objectives of the fund are to provide more space to pedestrians and cyclists, mainly through the reallocation of road space through a mixture of temporary and permanent schemes. The schemes installed enable social distancing to be maintained, make walking and cycling safer, more comfortable, and more viable methods of travel, as well as encouraging people to maintain these habits over the longer term.
In March 2021, the North East received £17.9m in funding from Tranche 3 of the Active Travel Fund to invest in the region’s walking and cycling network – the largest allocation in the country.
The multi-million pound funding boost will create new enhanced cycling and walking infrastructure, making it easier and safer for more people across the region to choose active, low carbon transport options when they are able to.
A total of nine schemes have been awarded funding across Newcastle, North Tyneside, Sunderland and Northumberland. Delivery of these schemes aligns with the objectives of the North East Transport Plan, which was adopted region-wide in 2021.
Of the nine schemes awarded funding in the North East, four were funded in Newcastle (£7,700,000), one in North Tyneside (£3,500,000), two in Northumberland (£3,462,244) and two in Sunderland (£3,267,000).
In November 2020, the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed that the region is to be awarded £9.049m for Active Travel Fund Tranche 2 measures, in response to our ambitious bid submitted in August 2020. A programme of schemes across the North East has been prepared that will make use of this allocation.
The schemes in the Transport North East programme will build on the success of our Tranche 1 schemes and provide permanent reallocation of road space to pedestrians and cyclists, continuing to make it safer and easier for people to get around our region on foot or by bike. The programme will be completed by the Spring of 2022.
Public acceptance is a vital element of this programme, so gathering public opinions prior to beginning construction of schemes in crucial.
We have developed a comprehensive regional and scheme-specific consultation plan, which can downloaded using the link below.
Tranche 1 emergency measures
Working with the seven North East local authorities and Nexus, Transport North East submitted a successful bid for short-term temporary measures to encourage more cycling and walking across the region.
We received £2.2m that enabled ‘pop up’ cycling and walking infrastructure measures to be installed across the region over a period of up to twelve weeks.
The aims of the new schemes were to:
- make it easier for people to get around on foot or by bike;
- enable cyclists and pedestrians to observe social distancing, keeping two metres apart while travelling;
- free up space on public transport, ensuring people who need to use it for essential journeys can;
- boost confidence by improving safety for all by segregating cyclists away from road traffic;
- support the economic recovery of our towns and cities by improving mobility and making them more accessible to people on foot and bikes;
- make it easier for people to maintain social distancing whilst queuing outside shops and other leisure facilities – without interrupting the flow of pedestrians and cyclists.