ENCOURAGEMENT for residents to cycle or walk more will be stepped up in west Cheshire thanks to a funding grant from central government.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has secured £161,000 from the Department for Transport to help improve cycling and walking routes in the borough.

This follows the Government’s announcement in May of the Emergency Active Travel Grant to help the country emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

This first allocation of funding secured by the council will go towards encouraging more people to keep walking and cycling in a safe way, especially for short and local journeys.

Residents have already been sharing their views and suggestions as part of the council’s ‘Walk, Ride, Thrive’ campaign, while the council has also adopted a new travel plan highlighting active travel facilities which it plans to upgrade.

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Cllr Karen Shore, deputy council leader and cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport said: “It is fantastic to hear the funding has now been confirmed.

“During lockdown, we have seen a dramatic fall in traffic volume and air pollution while more and more people have adapted to active travel, such as walking and cycling.

“We want to encourage this even further to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents, while also supporting the ambition to become a carbon neutral borough by 2045.

“Thanks to all those residents who have been playing their part and putting forward suggestions for the Walk, Ride, Thrive initiative.”

The council says that it has had received a considerable amount of feedback and is already making improvements, including cycle lanes being introduced on part of the A54 in Winsford.

It will also be seeking to secure the second phase of funding over the coming weeks to support more permanent cycling and walking infrastructure in the borough.

Improvement schemes will be guided by resident views on Walk, Ride, Thrive scheme, which is why the council is asking residents to continue sharing your views and suggestions.

You can do this by visiting cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/walk-ride-thrive or calling 0300 123 8123, quoting 'focusing on cycling and walking’.