Government gives Norfolk £1.5m to get more people cycling and walking


Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

'Get on your bike' - that is the message to people in Norwich and Great Yarmouth after council bosses were handed a grant of almost £1.5m to encourage people to cycle to work and education.

The government cash for Norfolk County Council will mean: • More than 200 bicycles will be available for people to borrow

• Jobseekers, students and people needing to get to hospital appointments will be offered personalised journey planning

• Group cycle rides, including Parkrides and events specifically for cycling commuters

• Cycle maintenance and training will be provided to more than 3,000 people

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The money, to be spent over the next three years, has been awarded by the Department for Transport for a scheme called Pushing Ahead, Your Journey Your Way.

It will focus on Greater Norwich and the enterprise zone of Great Yarmouth, with the aim of improving access to work, education and training.

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The council said the funding will also target those looking to get back into work because access to transport and the cost of travel often restricts where jobseekers can look for work and their ability to attend interviews.

Hilary Cox, member champion for walking and cycling at Norfolk County Council, said: 'It's fantastic news that we've been awarded this grant and it's a great opportunity to provide a firm focus on cycling and walking in Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

'The programme will help open up cycling to residents who haven't yet considered this as a viable transport option and it will provide clear information about the new trails and pedalways opening up in these two areas.

'Encouraging more people to take up cycling and walking is not only great for the environment but is also a cost effective way of getting from A to B and that can only be a good thing.'

Tracy Jessop. assistant director for highways and transport at County Hall, said 'We are very excited about the new opportunities that this fund will bring to the communities of Norwich and Great Yarmouth,'

The council has been working with AtoBetter to run a cycle loan scheme, with 30 bikes available in Norwich and Great Yarmouth, along with locks, helmets and lights. The grant means that can be extended to 200 bicycles.

Ms Jessop said: 'Our cycle loan scheme has been very popular so it's fantastic we'll be able to expand this offering.

'We're also looking forward to working closely with community groups to run activity events, safety awareness sessions and to help make cycling and walking around their local areas a practical option.

'All our planned events, initiatives and details on the cycle loan scheme can be found on our Pushing Ahead website, we would encourage everyone in the target areas to take an active interest so they can benefit from the scheme.'

The government grant follows the multi-million pound Push The Pedalways and Transport for Norwich projects, which have seen changes made to make it easier for cyclists to get across the city - although some of the schemes have attracted controversy.

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