20th June 2021
Rupert Furness of the DfT's Active and Accessible Travel Unit wrote to councils on 14th June 2021, inviting them to bid for Active Travel Fund capital by Monday 9th August 2021.
The total available is £239 million in the current financial year, 2021/22.
The letter states that authorities which bid must commit to five Key Principles. They are:
Schemes must comply with LTN1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design. They should include segregation or point closures to motor vehicles. Advisory cycle lanes and those marked only with white paint will not be funded.
"We expect local authorities and developers to utilise the guidance in the design of all schemes regardless of whether they are seeking Government funding."
All authorities are to undertake network planning in the form of Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). The LCWIPs should be:
Authorities which have yet to develop an LCWIP are to be given technical support in partnership with Sustrans.
Plans should be developed in consultation with local communities. That '...does not mean giving anyone a veto, requiring consensus on schemes, or prioritising the loudest voices.'
Local authority leaders must provide written confirmation of their long-term commitment to schemes, which should be given time to bed in and for the benefits to be realised.
Local authorities should be ready, if asked, to put larger schemes through a Design Review by the DfT or the future Active Travel England body.
There are four bid criteria:
Local authorities' bids should include:
Separately to the ATF bids, the DfT is inviting expressions of interest to take part in the government's Mini-Holland development programme.
Mini-Holland development involves intensive, transformational spending on local roads to make them as cycle- and pedestrian-friendly as their Dutch equivalents.
Candidate authorities must be places where there is serious political commitment to dramatic change. Twelve non-London areas will be chosen as Mini-Hollands, with £100,000 per authority to develop detailed proposals.
Cycling is amongst the most effective health interventions. For example, cycling to work cuts the risk of heart disease by 46%.
Four authorities will be chosen to take part in a pilot where walking and cycling are prescribed by doctors. The places chosen will need to invest in infrastructure improvements.
A series of one-day events will train local authority officers in active travel provision, to LTN1/20 standards. Each event will be are for a single authority, with 8-12 participants.
There are multiple dates between July 2021 and January 2022.
The government says it is committed to spending £2 billion on active travel over 5 years. That would mean £400 million per year, but in the first two years far less has been allocated.
|Year||Amount Promised Per Year||Amount Allocated|
This government reflects Alexander Johnson's personality, which means:
One of the government's main propaganda strategies is spending announcements, featuring big, round numbers. Whether the spending promises are kept or not is irrelevant to them.
The aim as far as they are concerned is to reap the PR benefits of the announcements. They calculate that people won't check the details months or years later when the promises are broken.
The amount that must be spent from now on, if the £2 billion promise is to be met, is £504 million per year. The government should prove me wrong and allocate this amount for the next 3 years - but it won't.
Another slightly uncomfortable aspect of this present announcement is that we only know of the DfT's letter from one source: Carlton Reid. He's a good journalist who is committed to active travel. If he's given this information, he's doing nothing wrong by writing an article about it.
But why do we only find out what's going on via a leak to a single favoured journalist? What sort of tinpot country operates in that way? This is a subject of great interest to a lot of people, and there should be an open, transparent announcement about it.