The Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland has announced £75,000 investment to three local Councils to develop Greenway projects in their areas.
The grants are for Ards and North Down Borough Council to develop Comber to Newtownards Greenway; Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to develop Greenisland Greenway; and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to develop Carryduff Greenway.
Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director welcomed the investment but called for the Executive – when it returns – to allocate at least 5% of capital funds to Greenways from the £400m additional budget announced for infrastructure.
“We are anxious to see government commit the resource to deliver greenways as set out in the Strategic Plan for Greenways,” Gordon Clarke said. “A lot of work goes into acquiring land and community consultation as Sustrans has experienced throughout the UK. We know of the huge benefits for all – environmental, health and economic. These greenways will contribute to the development of the National Cycle Network (NCN) which is Sustrans vision.
“We know that almost half the users will be walkers, half cyclists and people of all ages. The majority of local people use greenways for leisure and recreation as they are effectively a linear park. About a third of users are commuters and there is also great potential for tourism from visitors using greenways which have economic benefits for local communities.”
On the individual routes, Gordon Clarke commented:
Comber to Newtownards Greenway: “This will make the centre of Comber and Newtownards more accessible by foot and bike which will have economic benefits for these towns.”
Greenisland Greenway: “The proposed route has tremendous potential to open up public transport to the huge population around it. More people may consider cycling to the train station to commute to work. It also links up with the existing cycling network (NCN) and Eurovelo route.”
Carryduff Greenway: “Again there is a large population living in Carryduff who could be encouraged to cycle to the Park & Ride at Cairnshill for their commute to work. Therefore combining exercise with their daily routine and reducing congestion on one of the busiest arterial routes into Belfast.”
For more information please contact Anne Madden, Sustrans Policy and Communications Manager on [email protected] or 028 90434569