Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough cycling groups angry at funding failure

Cycling campaigners are furious at potential millions of pounds being lost in government funding for Cambridgeshire as a result of a “lack of ambition”.

Greenways are being constructed to encourage cycling. Picture: Greater Cambridge Partnership
Greenways are being constructed to encourage cycling. Picture: Greater Cambridge Partnership

The Department for Transport has confirmed the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority will receive just £635,000 from the latest active travel funding – millions less than others.

Figures quoted on the county council’s website show that this level of investment would fund less than a mile of cycleway.

The transport body ranked bottom of the list of UK Combined Authorities, receiving four per cent of the funds allocated to top-rated West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, which pocketed £17,250,000.

Even the less populated Tees Valley Combined Authority received £3,710,000 from the scheme. Cycling UK said the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough funds have been allocated to phase two of the Thorpe Wood cycleway in Peterborough and some school streets schemes.

This is not the first time the region’s allocation has been lower than the figure it applied for, and most of the money gained from previous funding rounds is yet to be spent despite an initial implementation deadline of March 2022.

Josh Grantham, infrastructure campaigner at Cambridge cycling group Camcycle, said: “Each tranche of active travel funding that is sacrificed, smaller than it should be, or needing to be paid back to the Department for Transport represents many thousands of potential walking and cycling journeys that could have been made by local people.

“It’s time to build on this success and ensure high-quality infrastructure is delivered right across the region, giving more people the choice to travel sustainably for everyday journeys and helping to tackle transport poverty.”

The Festival of Cycling Cargo Carnival in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Festival of Cycling Cargo Carnival in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Department for Transport has made clear that successful funding proposals must involve significant changes to road layouts to give more space to people walking and cycling and all schemes must meet set standards on inclusive design. Campaigners believe many local proposals failed here, but the Combined Authority deny this.

A spokesperson for Ely Cycling Campaign said: “It is frustrating to see such a small amount of funding made available when there are plenty of opportunities to improve walking and cycling across East Cambridgeshire. There’s still no sign of the active travel leader and forum promised by the mayor last year, or consultation on plans for schemes that could attract funds. Active travel should be safe, attractive and accessible for many trips, but investment is needed if the climate emergency and other environmental and health concerns are to be addressed.”

John Morris, founder of Hunts Walking and Cycling Group, said: “While impressive Active Travel Fund schemes are being delivered across England it feels as if absolutely nothing has changed for people in Huntingdonshire. The government has made it clear that it wants to see ambitious schemes that re-allocate road space to people walking and cycling. This requires strong political leadership at a local level. Decision-makers across all levels of government in Cambridgeshire must urgently work together to secure the funding we desperately need to deliver improvements to our walking and cycling infrastructure.”

A spokesperson for Peterborough Cycle Forum said: “We welcome new funding for cycling and walking in Peterborough, but we remain concerned about the way that the Thorpe Wood cycleway (part of an £8.1 million roadbuilding project) has been prioritised over schemes that would deliver a greater benefit to more people. We need to see transparency and collaboration from Peterborough City Council and the Combined Authority so that a detailed programme of transformative schemes can be agreed upon and every bit of available funding is taken up.”

Campaign groups in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough say the region’s decision-makers must work together to plan programmes of ambitious active travel schemes.

The Fendon Road roundabout in Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell
The Fendon Road roundabout in Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “Despite the disappointment of not securing the funds we would have wanted, I remain fully committed to my previously stated ambition for Cambridgeshire to become an active travel exemplar for the UK.

“As a doctor my driving motivation as I moved away from the hospital and into politics was to improve the physical and mental health of communities. Investment in active travel schemes and supporting communities to make the all-important changes to how we move around can help tackle those fundamental inequalities in health and wellbeing whilst at the same time make a huge difference in tackling climate change .”

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More