The UK government has offered £32.9m to English councils to provide more green jobs and upskill local workers, with the aim of further developing active travel projects across the country.
The schemes will be co-created with local communities, according to the government, to support the provision of projects that work with regional road networks.
Some of the proposed changes include new school safety zones that incentivise active travel, better walking and cycling infrastructure on local high streets, improved provision of cycle and wheelchair paths, cycle training and bike rental schemes.
What’s more, the measures are intended to address barriers to active travel, with the government citing surveys that reveal 79% of women support the building of better protected cycle lanes.
Funding will also be allocated to enhancing local skills around network planning and public engagement for council staff, potentially creating hundreds of new green jobs across England.
Active travel offers health and environmental benefits, such as reduced carbon emissions from road transport and improvements in local air quality.
Cycling charity Cycling UK has predicted that, by choosing to use a bike for short journeys, individuals could save £126 per year in fuel costs.
Jesse Norman, active travel minister, said: “Leaving the car and walking and cycling instead is an easy way to get fit, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
“Better designed schemes, which take into account the views of local people will help deliver improvements that have widespread local support.
“Skills training and local community engagement will help local authorities to make active travel an attractive choice for getting around.”
The government intends to develop a skilled active travel workforce at a local level across England, which in turn will support more cost-effective and well-targeted projects.
It likewise hopes to improve access to jobs and education through community outreach schemes to schools and employment centres.