Team behind multi-million pound Inverness Active Travel project celebrate funding competition success
The team behind the Inverness City Active Travel Network project met up with stakeholders and community representatives in Inverness today (Wednesday 20 September) to celebrate being awarded £6.5M of Community Links PLUS funding following the announcement made by the Minister for Transport and the Islands in Glasgow on Monday.
Highland Council and partners have been able to identify matching investment of over £7M, which includes the West Link active travel infrastructure, Inverness Railway Station cycle parking infrastructure, Safer Routes to School interventions, and smarter travel promotion.
The success of the bid for funding means that five strategic interventions can be taken forward that will bring a game changing situation for active travel across the City, especially the west-east route linking the City Centre with the education sites along the route and the development growth areas identified in the Local Development Plan.
The Provost of Inverness, Cllr Helen Carmichael said: “The success of this funding bid would not have happened without the efforts of the Council team and advisers along with the fantastic support of local partners and stakeholders which is why it was lovely today to meet up today to celebrate this great step forward towards creating a connected City fit for the future.”
The current level of cycling in Inverness for travel to work by bike is just under 6% which is above the Scottish average.
Richard Gerring, the Council’s Transport Planning Manager who was in Glasgow on Monday when the announcement was made said: “The Community Links PLUS programme is consistent with our ambitious plans for the City’s economic development and expansion. The City-Region Deal aims to create 6,000 new houses over the next 20 years of which 1,600 will be affordable homes and 1,125 direct jobs. The City Centre is being progressively remodelled, with the Railway Station, Station Square and Academy Street being a key focus for improvement.
“A key benefit of the ICATN project is that it will enable improved connections between the identified growth areas of the City. The west-east route will provide a connection with the education sites along the route: Inverness High School; Millburn Academy; UHI Inverness College; and Culloden Academy”.
Cllr Bet McAllister who represents the Inverness Central Ward came along today to thank the team behind the bid. She said: “The award of Community Links PLUS funding is great news for Inverness as it will enable us to promote active travel, improve community health and reduce the level of short car journeys.”
Brian MacKenzie from the Highland Cycle Campaign added: “There are compelling environmental reasons for investing in Active Travel as nearly half of transport emissions are from cars and over 50% of all car journeys are less than 5kms – which is a viable cycling distance.”
The Inverness City Active Travel Network programme is inspired by the best of what is achieved in the Netherlands and Denmark. These measures will be supported by robust smarter travel, engagement and promotional programmes.
Fiona McInally, Active Travel Officer with HITRANS SAID: “The routes which are developed as part of the Active Travel Network will make it realistic and attractive for families to make trips in and out of the city centre safely.
“As a cycling mum with a young girl in a trailer I’m really excited to seeing change to the network and to see the school pupils and students able to cycle to school and to study every day.”
The formal agreement for the funding award is expected to be completed within the next 6 weeks. This is an ambitious programme to deliver five strategic interventions over the next three years. Given the scale of the funding the Council will set up a Project Board and a Community Liaison Group, similar to the arrangements set up for the Inverness West Link Project.