Businesses can apply for a share of up to £470,000 for innovative proposals to encourage people to make journeys by bike or on foot, as part of a new £1.2 billion plan to encourage cycling and walking.
The government’s newly published long-term plan aims to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys.
The £1.2 billion includes £101 million to improve cycling infrastructure and cycle routes between city centres, local communities and key employment areas; £80 million for training courses; £389 million for councils to invest in local projects; £476 million of local growth funding for businesses; and £1 million to support Cycling UK’s ‘Big Bike Revival’ scheme, which provides free bike maintenance and cycling classes.
Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said: “We are making cycling and walking more accessible to everyone because of the substantial health and environmental benefits - it will also be a boost for businesses because a fitter and healthier workforce is more productive.
“We have already tripled spending on cycling since 2010 and we are now publishing a long-term investment plan because we are absolutely committed to increasing levels of cycling and walking.”
The benefits of increasing rates of cycling and walking are substantial. For people, it means cheaper travel and better health, while for businesses it means increased productivity - regular cyclists take one less sick day per year than non-cyclists. For society as a whole it means lower congestion, better air quality, and more attractive places and communities.
As part of the initial funding, organisations and businesses with innovative projects that lead to people walking and cycling more can apply for a share of up to £470,000.
Eligible innovations could include technology, infrastructure, manufacturing or behavioural change.
The competition is open for registrations until 7 June 2017 and is open to individuals, groups and organisations, but is particularly suitable for SMEs.
Businesses in Greater Manchester can also access funding of up to £10,000 to invest in sustainable travel projects, such as capital investments in infrastructure for staff or staff incentive schemes.