We welcome Government’s active travel announcement
The Department for Transport announcement of increased funding for infrastructure upgrades to support the active travel boom is welcomed by us, with several towpath enhancements included in the package of works announced.
Working in partnership with Sustrans, we have been allocated over £2m of investment to improve 9km of towpaths that form part of the National Cycle Network and address improved access and barriers to use in other locations.
During the current financial year, we will deliver investment along towpaths in Chester (Shropshire Union Canal), Dudley (Birmingham Mainline Canal), Long Itchington in Warwickshire, and Leighton Buzzard (both Grand Union Canal).
Richard Parry, our chief executive comments: “With this additional investment, our waterways and towpaths can offer sustainable transport routes and an important ‘natural health service’ right across much of the country. During the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, towpath usage in many urban residential areas increased dramatically, confirming their vital role in providing access to the outdoors. No other UK organisation has 2,000 miles of freely accessible green and blue space, so close to so many people, in areas of most need.
“Working with partners we are able to transform towpaths into off-road routes for walking and cycling for both commuting and recreation all year round. However canals are special places and our Memorandum of Understanding with Sustrans recognises the unique historic nature of towpaths and the range of different users who must be respected. Our code is clear that pedestrians and those accessing the water have priority and cyclists in particular should be considerate of others – cyclists wanting to travel at speed should use alternative routes away from the canal.”