Welcome £12m cash boost for cycling in national parks
This is an archived press release
Thursday 31 January 2013
The Peak District National Park Authority has welcomed the Government’s injection of £12million to boost cycling opportunities in English national parks.
The cash is part of a record £62million overall investment to make cycling more attractive for people in cities and the countryside announced by Transport Minister Norman Baker.
National park authorities will be able to bid for a share of the £12million in partnership with their highways authorities – usually county councils.
They must be able to prove they will enable more people to cycle – which the Peak District has already done with its hugely popular Pedal Peak District project to re-open former railway tunnels on the Monsal Trail in 2011. More than 128,000 cyclists used the trail in its first 18 months.
Peak District National Park Authority chief executive Jim Dixon said the Authority and its partners would definitely make a bid: “This is a great opportunity for national parks to show how cycling can benefit the economy, the environment and communities.
“It is really good that the Department for Transport has recognised the need to support cycling infrastructure in rural areas as well as cities.
“Projects like the Monsal Trail show that cycling infrastructure can be delivered in a sensitive way, improving the environment and visitor experience of the national park.
“We look forward to working with Derbyshire County Council and other local authorities to put together a great bid from the Peak District.”
The Authority is hosting a Peak District Cycling Summit on February 27 for a cross-section of organisations to work on making the Peak District one of the UK’s premier cycling destinations. Plans include the first Peak District Cycling Festival, to be held in September.
The Peak District is increasingly popular for cyclists across all abilities, with challenging mountain bike routes, a network of quiet country lanes and more than 65 miles of traffic free trails, served by cycle hire centres across the area.
The York to Sheffield stage of the 2014 Tour de France will come through 18.5 miles of the Dark Peak, including the challenging Holme Moss climb and the Woodhead Pass.
The area was chosen for the launch of the electric bike network in 2011 and the Pedal Peak District project on the Monsal Trail was picked as a case study by Visit England for promoting sustainable rural tourism.
Pedal Peak District co-ordinator Carol Parsons, who is helping organise the Cycling Summit, said: “We are very excited to hear about this funding – it is a major opportunity for us and partners to move our cycling ambitions for the Peak District up a gear.
“We have a track record of delivering complex, on-the-ground projects against tight deadlines, as proved by the Monsal Trail project to re-open the tunnels between Bakewell and Wyedale which was funded by £2.25m from the Department for Transport.
“We are currently working with Derbyshire County Council on plans to extend the trail between Matlock and Buxton, which would encourage more cyclists and provide more opportunities for sustainable travel.”