Political and sporting figures in Sheffield call on PM to bring forward cycling investment
Political and sporting figures in South Yorkshire have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to bring forward investment for better cycling and walking provision.
Both Dan Jarvis, Sheffield City Region mayor, and Dame Sarah Storey, SCR active travel commissioner , are asking the PM for flexibility in funding to use the £166 million allocated to the region through the Transforming Cities Fund to be used to make space for walking and cycling more quickly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Johnson has been asked to bring forward the investment as part of the country’s recovery plans and to encourage councils to identify and safeguard space for walking and cycling.
The government is asked to build on the cleaner air quality from the lockdown due to a huge fall in private care use.
Both the mayor and commissioner, in a joint letter to Number 10, reference that social distancing will be key moving forward and cycling and walking provision will help.
In the summer, Mr Jarvis and Dame Sarah are set to release their blueprint for improving walking and cycling in South Yorkshire over the next 20 years.
The plan, which has been developed with input from both local authorities and the public during Dame Sarah’s first year as active travel commissioner, will include plans for low-traffic neighbourhoods and a comprehensive, connected ‘network of routes’ across the region which will be ‘safe and suitable’ for all to use.
They said: “We welcome your commitment to work with Metro Mayors, in particular the importance transport must play in the renewal of our regions.
“We believe walking and cycling should be at the heart of this. The coronavirus provides us a time limited window to change habits for the better.
“Rather than return to business as usual, we must seize the opportunity to create a cleaner and greener environment, and healthier citizens.
“We are writing to set out how the Sheffield City Region stands ready to lead this change, and how support from your Government could unlock the transformation our environment and communities need to see.
“The current Covid-19 crisis has taught us many things. The importance of good social networks, the resilience of local communities but also how influential people’s travel choices are, in both helping to combat the spread of the virus while ensuring the best recovery for the country, both from an economic but also public health perspective.”