Scottish Government awards £22m to three permanent active travel projects

THE Scottish Government has awarded over £22 million to three permanent active travel schemes in Ayr, Hawick and Broughty Ferry.

It comes as part of the government’s commitment to investing over £500 million in active travel over the next five years.

Of the funding, £11,813,508 will go towards the Scottish Borders Council’s £12.6 million Hawick flood protection active travel network. It will see the delivery of over 7km of new active travel facilities for the town of Hawick – allowing for links to key communities and creating five key landscaped areas, as well as the enhancement of 3km of the river corridor.

Dundee City Council’s Broughty Ferry and Monifieth active travel project will receive £9,367,113 in funding for their £9,379,655 development to link the two communities with a high quality cycling infrastructure.

The £16.5 million accessible Ayr project, a key component of the active town vision for Ayr, will receive £1,314,431 million in funding. The project will see the removal of barriers in the town to allow for more active travel, as well as the creation of an integrated network of active travel routes that connect key areas and the development of new green infrastructure.

The Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson, said, “It’s been really encouraging to see the strength of ambition, demonstrated by local authorities, in their applications to the Sustrans places for everyone scheme. With the support received by local communities, these three large scale active travel projects will transform opportunities to walk, wheel and cycle across Ayr, Hawick and Broughty Ferry.

“Encouraging more sustainable active travel journeys is vital to our health, wellbeing and in our response to the climate emergency. Our recently published climate change plan update puts active travel at the heart of our actions to secure our world leading net-zero ambitions. That’s why we’re investing over £500 over the next five years, in addition to a further £50 million to support new ‘Active Freeways’ to some of Scotland’s major destinations.

Councillor Peter Henderson, leader of South Ayrshire Council, commented,“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the Sustrans’ Places for Everyone scheme, which will allow us to implement our ambitious accessibility programme, an important step towards a net zero carbon South Ayrshire. The active town vision for Ayr includes the major investments of a new leisure centre close to the High Street, new public open space and an athletics centre of excellence.  Our accessibility programme will play an important role in connecting these elements and promoting active travel.”

Shona Haslam, leader of the Scottish Borders Council, said, “I am thrilled that Scottish Borders Council has achieved this funding to deliver an active transport scheme in Hawick connected to the ongoing Hawick flood protection scheme which includes a 7km long cycle route. The project has been developed with the community through working groups led by the Hawick flood protection scheme and the input received has been instrumental in this successful outcome.

“This investment will provide vital links to communities, encourage more people to walk, wheel and cycle their journeys by creating dedicated traffic-free routes and enhance key locations throughout the town. This will be of benefit not only to the townsfolk but visitors too.”

Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, commented, “This is one of the largest investments ever made in the area’s active travel infrastructure and a clear sign of the commitment to continue helping people to make choices that are good for them, good for the community and good for the wider environment. This was a collaborative process that relied heavily on the input and support of the people of Dundee and Angus and I am grateful for their backing for road space being used this way, particularly on the wider sections which will give cyclists and walkers exclusive use.

“I am sure that the improvements to the route will encourage even more people to get out walking or wheeling to enjoy the views and wide-open spaces of our coastline and in doing so boost their health and wellbeing.”