26/06/2006

Government announces £15 million boost for cycling initiatives

The government has announced an additional £15 million for cycling initiatives.

The new investment, which doubles the budget for Cycling England, will provide more money for the cycling Links to Schools project, which ties in schools to the wider 10,000 miles of the National Cycling Network, reducing the need for school children to cycle on busy roads.

The funding will also support the new, more rigorous, cycling proficiency test, which will potentially train a further 100,000 children to a new, tougher standard including on-road training.

Announcing the funding at the opening of a new traffic free cycle link to Oxford Community School, Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "At ten to nine in the morning, one in five cars are on the school run. By encouraging cycling, seemingly small choices can have big impacts - improving the health of children, tackling congestion and helping the environment.

"By doubling our investment in Cycling England today to £10 million per year with immediate effect, we will help offer greener, safer and healthier choices to more parents and children."

Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England, said: "This is wonderful news for cycling and for young people in particular. They are at the heart of our commitment to get more people cycling, more safely, more often.

"Through targeted investment, working in partnership, it is possible to change behaviour. For example, cycling to school rates have quadrupled in Bike It schemes in just one year."

Schools Minister Andrew Adonis said: "This is an excellent scheme which will benefit thousands of school children. It will mean that over 100,000 children will train to the new national standards in cycling to give them the necessary skills to cycle in today's road conditions.

"Safer cycling routes will help encourage more children to travel by sustainable means and give parents the confidence to let their children travel to school independently."

(KMcA/CD)

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