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£77m to promote cycling in cities

A big cash injection for cycling as well as a nationwide drive to promote cycling in cities and national parks has been announced by the Prime Minister.

The initiative includes plans to make roads safer for those on two wheels and means a number of English cities will get Government money for cycling schemes. A total of £77 million will be divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich.

Also, the New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor areas will each share a slice of £17 million funding for national parks. With local contributions, the total new funding for cycling is £148 million between now and 2015.

The announcement includes a commitment from the Government to cut red tape that can stifle cycle-friendly road design and to encourage changes to the way roads are built or altered.

Councils will be expected to up their game to deliver infrastructure that takes cycling into account from the design stage.

Mr Cameron said: "Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high - now we want to see cycling soar.

"Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists."

He continued: "This Government wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up and business, local government, developers, road users and the transport sector all have a role to play in helping to achieve this."

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "No amount of cynical spin from David Cameron will make up for the fact that, immediately on taking office, he axed Cycle England, the Cycle Demonstration Towns scheme and the annual £60m budget to support cycling that he inherited."

Professor David Cox, chairman of national cycling charity CTC, said: "David Cameron has today shown the leadership that CTC and other cycling groups have long called for. We now urge MPs of all parties to speak up for cycling in Parliament in September, calling for the funding needed to transform Britain's streets into a continental-style 'Cycletopia'. With growing political support for cycling, this really might now be possible."

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