Grant Shapps announces £250m for pop-up bike lanes
9th May 2020
At today's Coronavirus briefing, Secretary of State Grant Shapps announced £250 million for pop-up bike lanes, and made some other encouraging promises.
He explained that once social distancing is taken into account, public transport capacity will be just 10% of normal. As Britain gets moving again, this is a health opportunity. Pedestrians also need more space.
£250 million will pay for emergency interventions as follows:
- pop-up bike lanes
- wider pavements
- cycle and bus only streets
This is encouraging but a similar amount, €300m, is being spent in a single city - Paris - on 680km of cycleways.
Statutory guidance will be effective immediately requiring councils in England to cater for significantly increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians. In the foreword, Grant Shapps says, 'The government...expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.'
There's to be a voucher scheme for bike repairs and maintenance.
Further measures in the next few months
Shapps also announced that the £250m is part of a £2 billion package (over 5 years I believe, so £400m per year). This appears to be a re-announcement of funding already announced once by Boris Johnson in February 2020.
Again, it is encouraging, but it represents just 7% of the £28 billion this government plans to spend on new main roads. £2bn over 5 years won't be enough to achieve the government's own ambition to double cycling rates by 2025. Sustrans says that would cost £6-8 billion.
The further measures over the next few months include:
- a National Cycling Plan (under CWIS) to be published in early June
- National Standards for cycle infrastructure in England
- the appointment of a National Cycling Champion (previously announced in November 2018)
- GPs prescribing cycling
- legal changes to protect vulnerable road users
- one zero-emissions city (the centre open to buses, bikes and people on foot)
- a long-term cycling programme and budget
There are also to be trials of e-scooters starting next month, with rental schemes in cities; and there's £10m for electric car charging points.
This is the DfT's press release.