UK cyclists have got the chance to massively expand the nation’s cycle routes, in a public vote to decide how £50million Lottery money gets spent.
The huge project will get six million more people cycling and walking across the country says cycling charity Sustrans, which has been working on the Lottery bid for two years.
After being shortlisted from 33 projects, the Sustrans Connect2 scheme has made the final of the voting for the Big Lottery Fund’s The People’s £50 Million, along with three other initiatives.
And Connect2 has a huge advantage, because it’s the only national scheme in the final running.
TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and former Government minister Charles Clarke will lead the sustainable transport charity’s bid to transform walking and cycling opportunities across the UK.
Connect2 aims to improve local travel in 79 communities by building walking and cycling bridges and tunnels, developing links, even re-instating a ferry. It is designed to bring people closer together, making journeys quicker, healthier and more convenient.
Across the UK six million people live within a mile of the proposed schemes, including one million schoolchildren. Sustrans says that 79,000 tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved annually once the schemes are completed.
Lorraine Kelly said: “I meet so many people from all walks of life and I find one thing affects us all, travel. How many times have we stood on the edge of a busy road waiting for the traffic to ease or had to travel miles out of our way to get to the one bridge over the river?
“Connect2 deals with just these daily challenges and gives us the option to do the journey in a way that helps the environment. And, of course, it gets us fit - forget the gym, Connect2 is the answer to our obesity problems”.
Voting will take place online and by phone following a TV show about the four projects on ITV1. Full programme details will be released in mid November.
Online voting will open here at 9am on 26 November.
The result of the public vote will be announced in early December.
Sustrans’ chief executive John Grimshaw said: “Three years ago the National Cycle Network was voted Britain’s favourite large-scale, Lottery-funded project. “Connect2 will build on the NCN and provide local opportunities for people to combat two of the most pressing issues facing us - obesity and climate change. “We ask anyone who would like to see local travel transformed across the UK to vote for Connect2 in December.”
Check back with Bikeradar.com next week for details on all the 79 schemes which make up the Connect2 project.
To find out more, and to register support, visit www.sustransconnect2.org.ukor text Connect2 to 80010.
You can find out more about The People’s £50 Million contest, and the other schemes in the running, here.