The Sustrans Community Links partnership programme is distributing over £20 million of funding from Transport Scotland for delivery of 160 cycling and walking projects across Scotland. The funding is part of an on-going commitment by the Scottish Government to help realise the shared vision of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS) that 10% of purposeful trips will be by bike by 2020 and the strategic aim of the National Walking Strategy (NWS) to create better quality walking environments.
Community Links is a five year old partnership between Sustrans and local authorities, government agencies such as Scottish Canals and the national parks and other third-sector bodies. The programme is a competitive grant awarding process whereby participants submit proposals, are judged by Sustrans and a specially convened expert panel, with funding awards made at the commencement of the financial year. Applicants have to at least match fund the allocation from Sustrans, so in the 2015/16 financial year a further £25 million will be unlocked for cycling and walking projects.
Successful projects include bold initiatives which overcome significant barriers such as dangerous junctions and busy roads, while solutions to smaller obstacles to active travel also make up a significant number of projects. These improvements are designed to make it easier for people to choose to cycle or walk for short, every day journeys as well as improve the places and spaces we move through and live in.
Tom Bishop, Sustrans’ Community Links Coordinator, said:
“From the evidence gathered over the past five years and from the level of submissions received this year, it is clear that there is a real appetite to improve cycling facilities across Scotland. Our Community Links team has worked hard to carefully select the highest quality projects to fund and we look forward to working with partners to ensure their successful delivery.
“The installation of these new cycling facilities will give people the opportunity to travel actively on a regular basis. This will bring them a large number of benefits – health, financial and environmental.”
Sustrans looks forward to working with a range of partner organisations to see the many innovative projects completed. One such example is the Causey project in Edinburgh, which is particularly ambitious as it will transform a space dominated by vehicular traffic into an environment which is conducive to walking and cycling. Also with Sustrans’ support and in partnership with the local authorities, the town centres of Dunblane, Kirkwall and Kirkintilloch will be transformed into places which prioritise people on foot or bike. Whilst, in South Lanarkshire a five kilometre section of dual carriageway will be de-duelled and the southbound carriageway converted into traffic free cycling and walking space.
More details of the successful projects will be made available shortly.
Find out more about the programme and previously funded projects here.