Funding boost for walking and cycling schemes

Cllr Carl MaynardPEOPLE in East Sussex will be helped to walk and cycle more – thanks to a £1.2 million Government funding boost.

East Sussex County Council has successfully applied for the cash from a Department for Transport fund to deliver cycling and walking initiatives aimed at improving access to work, education and training.

East Sussex is one of only a handful of councils to gain funding, and has been awarded a similar amount to much larger local authorities, such as Kent.

The money will be focused on schemes in the Newhaven, Eastbourne and south Wealden and Bexhill and Hastings areas which will help to boost the local economy.

The money will establish new projects including journey planning tools and the launch of new ‘cycle hubs’ offering bike training, maintenance and sustainable travel information, in Peacehaven and Hastings, in addition to the existing hub in Eastbourne.

It will also support the continuation of the successful Wheels 2 Work scheme, which allows people to rent motorbikes and scooters to get to work, and allow the launch of a similar scheme called Pedal Power, offering cycle or electric cycle loans.

Meanwhile, money will be made available for walking and cycling ‘challenges’ to promote sustainable travel, and for a scheme offering grants of up to £1,500 to community groups or small organisations for small local schemes promoting cycling and walking.

Cllr Carl Maynard, county council lead member for transport and environment, said: “This is fantastic news for East Sussex and will allow us to build on the excellent work to promote sustainable travel that is already going on in the county.

“The funding will enable us to continue to work with our partners to drive forward economic growth improve access to new and existing jobs, training and education on foot or on two wheels.

“As well as a very welcome boost to the county’s economy, these schemes also allow us to reduce carbon emissions and help people to improve their health and wellbeing.”

The £1.2 million from the DfT’s Access Fund will make up the lion’s share of funding for a £1.4 million county council-led strategy entitled Active Access for Growth.

It will complement the capital investments made through the Local Growth Fund Programme, in which the county council has secured £22m of funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver new and improved walking and cycling infrastructure routes across the areas of Newhaven, Eastbourne, South Wealden, Bexhill and Hastings.

Schemes will be delivered in partnership with organisations including local district and borough councils, business organisations, education providers and charities.