Westmorland and Furness Council has been granted £406,213 from Active Travel England to support the development of new cycling, wheeling and walking routes, with MP Simon Fell saying it is ‘great news’ over £210,000 will go towards two projects in Barrow.

Among projects selected for funding include initial  plans for creating design options to expand the 1.9 miles of active travel infrastructure that is planned to take shape on Abbey Road in Barrow later this year by a further 1.1 miles towards Rating Lane.

The construction of the initial Abbey Road scheme from Ramsden Square to the Park Drive junction is planned to start in the autumn.

Earlier this year preliminary work took place by cutting down six trees on Ramsden Square. The council will replace these trees by planting 32 trees in the local area and on the available space on Ramsden Square where possible as a part of the subsequent construction works.

Phil Greenup, assistant director for sustainable transport and highways at Westmorland and Furness Council said: “This announcement brings more exciting news for the area, and my thanks goes to the team who have been working hard on delivering our Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plans.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding that will enable us to continue our ongoing efforts to create greener, safer environments, and encourage our communities to choose sustainable modes of transport for short journeys.

“Not only can we now build on our plans that will bring even more active travel infrastructure to area, the funding will enable us to create a dedicated space for families to safely walk, cycle and scoot to schools. We look forward to working with prospective schools in the coming months to identify where these vehicle-free zones can most effectively be trialled.”

Three Westmorland and Furness schools will also be chosen to take part in the governments ‘School Streets’ initiative thanks to this latest tranche of funding.

The council say selected schools will see vehicle-free zones created directly outside school for up to one hour at drop off and pick up times.

Amy Holliman, assistant director for quality, resources and transformation in children’s services at the council, said: “Physical activity can improve the mood of children arriving at school refreshed, alert and ready to learn.

“I am delighted that we are now in a position to implement three ‘School Street’ trials in Westmorland and Furness.  These trial restrictions will help to make the pupils journeys safer, and it’s a great way for families to spend time together by walking and talking.”

Across the North West, Active Travel England have provided £12.5 million for investment in walking, wheeling and cycling routes.

Roads Minister Guy Opperman said: “We’re committed to ensuring people can travel in the way that works best for them, which is why we’re investing over £100 million for over 100km of new walking and cycling routes, improved access to our national parks, and e-cycle loan schemes.

“This funding is not just an investment in new infrastructure, but in communities that will benefit from the social mobility and health benefits that improved and new walking and cycling routes will bring.”

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