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Blackburn with Darwen to benefit from £385,000 ‘Emergency Active Travel Fund’

5th June 2020

Many people have discovered the joy of cycling and walking during lockdown, for some it’s been a form of exercise, for others it’s been a safe, socially distanced way of travelling.

As the country and our borough starts to return to work and whilst people are asked to avoid public transport where possible, there is a fear that our roads could become more congested by an increase in car journeys.  

In an effort to help commuters ditch their cars, the Department for Transport recently launched a £250 million ‘emergency active travel fund’ to help make local roads safer for cyclists and walkers to use.  Blackburn with Darwen council will receive £385,000. 

Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development said: "In Blackburn with Darwen we've always been proactive in supporting measures to enable active travel.  It's especially important we continue that trend in response to the coronavirus pandemic and this funding will allow us to bring in some immesdiate and longer term improvements.  "In the immediate-term that involves a targetted promotion of pre-existing cycle routes, installing new signage and making cycle-safe improvements to junctions.  We will then develop a longer-term strategic plan that will deliver projects within the Government guidance such as extending existing routes, pop up cycle ways and storage improvements, bringing forward permanent schemes as well as a programme of events and community schemes including those with school." 

“This funding is fantastic news and will help us build a healthier borough” says Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing.  “Improving our infrastructure to enable more people to walk and cycle to work, school and the shops safely is real positive step for our residents’ health.  There is evidence that being physically active reduces the risk of many long term conditions and diseases such as obesity, some cancers, diabetes and heart disease.  Greater vehicle use also causes higher levels of air pollution which may lead to an increase cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.    

Work is expected to start in the next few weeks.