York has been “put on the naughty step” by the Department for Transport (DfT) after receiving a “meagre” £350,000 in cycling and walking cash, campaigners have claimed.
City of York Council, one of 46 local authorities outside London to be given a share of the latest £200m tranche of funding, will spend the money on cycle parking improvements and creating ‘people streets’ outside two schools.
Several areas of the country received no funding at all, but places such as Hull (£2.2m), Nottingham (£2.2m) and Slough (£10m) got more than York.
York Cycle Campaign said the “slap in the face” is down to the council’s “failure to implement previous active travel schemes” and its “refusal to follow Government guidelines” on others.
Charity Cycling UK has said the councils which submitted “bold” proposals and those who have followed government guidance on active travel have been the most successful.
Council transport bosses insist the authority has been “very successful” in securing active travel funding from DfT.
Campaign member Nathan Horner said: “We’ve already seen plans like Tadcaster Road and York Road being compromised due to lack of sufficient available funding. It’s high time York had a transport strategy and a bigger plan.
“It’s so amazing seeing cities around the country being transformed, and the freedom it is bringing to people from age five to 95. Yet in York we are seeing nothing but small stretches of disconnected improvements and excuses for delays.”
The council’s head of highways and transport Dave Atkinson said York had an ongoing £3m active travel programme.
He added: “The council has an excellent relationship with the DfT and an excellent record in attracting funding for active travel, bus service improvement, electrifying the bus fleet, EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure and transport technology.
“The DfT decision to locate Active Travel England in York reflects the good relationship we have and will provide opportunities to work more closely with the DfT in this area. Our e-scooter/e-bike trial has been one of the most successful in the country.”
Labour spokesperson for transport Cllr Rachel Melly, said: “York’s meagre funding award when compared to other councils is sadly a reflection of both how unambitious the council is prepared to be on active travel, and also how ineffective it has been at approving and implementing planned schemes.”
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, executive member for transport at the council, said: “Scheme delivery, as in other cities, is complex due to the need to work around our heritage constraints and available road space, but we’re working hard to design schemes that give us the best outcomes to create quality routes.
“A comprehensive update on the Active Travel programme will be considered at the executive member for transport’s decision session in July.”