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Shop occupancy rates improve despite cost-of-living crisis

30 Jan 2023

The number of shops lying vacant on British high streets fell during the final three months of 2022, despite pressure on both companies and consumers from the rising cost of living.
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Bike Europe has reported Halfords’ financial statement demonstrating that cycling sales have dropped to pre-covid levels.

18 Jan 2023

The article reports that, in 2021, Halfords saw its annual cycling sales double and stocks dry up. However, by the middle of 2022, it says, warning signs were appearing as inflation and supply... Read more…

Seaside town bucks the trend with indie retail thriving

16 Jan 2023

Weston-super-Mare seems to be one town in the UK bucking the national trend, with new shops opening and businesses reporting an increase in trade, according to a report by Bristol Live.
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Indie bookshop numbers hit 10-year high in 2022 defying tough retail climate

16 Jan 2023

The number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland climbed to a 10-year high in 2022, as the book trade defied the odds in an otherwise tough year for high street retailers.
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New King’s banknotes to enter circulation by mid-2024

12 Jan 2023

New banknotes featuring King Charles are to enter circulation by mid-2024. The King’s portrait will appear on four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20, and £50).... Read more…

Government scales back energy bill support for businesses

12 Jan 2023

The government has announced it is to scale back support for businesses and their energy bills after warning that the current level of help was too expensive.
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Sector expertise and user experience counts when it comes to retail finance

10 Jan 2023

With retail finance schemes remaining a preferable route for retailers to boost sales during recession than the financial hit required by heavy product discounting, the Association of Cycle... Read more…

Portugal becomes first EU country to cut VAT on bicycle purchases this year

10 Jan 2023

Portugal has become the first EU country to cut VAT on bicycle purchases this year, from 23% to 6%.
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One in three responds to Big Bike Revival to use bike for one in two journeys previously taken by car

9 Jan 2023

Cycling UK says that its Big Bike Revival programme, which encourages people to get unused bikes out of their garages and sheds and start using them for everyday trips, has led to a third of... Read more…

Busiest year yet for TfL’s cycle hire scheme

9 Jan 2023

Transport for London’s (TfL) cycle hire scheme saw more bikes hired during 2022 than any other year in the scheme’s history, with 11.5 million rentals across the year.
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£32.9 million to create a national network of walking and cycling experts

Posted on in Cycles News, Outdoor News, Political News

  • millions are being encouraged to walk and cycle more this year to get fit and save money, with an additional £32.9 million of government funding to accelerate walking and cycling schemes across the country
  • with many people looking to improve their health or reduce their carbon footprint this month, the government is helping councils improve how they design and create active travel schemes by training staff
  • innovations could see better designed school safety zones to encourage active travel, improved walking and cycling infrastructure on local high streets as well as new cycle and wheelchair paths

Cycle laneMillions of families, commuters and school children are being encouraged to take up healthy habits this year. Local councils will benefit from skills training and a boost to green jobs thanks to a £32.9 million scheme launched today (2 January 2023) which will enable them to develop thousands of well thought-through local walking and cycling schemes, co-created by the communities that will use them.

As people across the country are looking to kickstart the year with healthy resolutions, the government expects to see millions shake up the way they travel. The investment will help local councils in England design, develop and consult on high-quality active travel schemes that work for residents and consider the local road network. These could include new school safety zones to encourage active travel, improved walking and cycling infrastructure on local high streets as well as new cycle and wheelchair paths.

The measures aim to get more people of all groups walking and cycling and help to address the barriers that exist. Surveys show the number one issue putting women off cycling is how safe they feel on the roads with 79% of women supporting more protected cycle lanes being built. Safety will therefore be the major focus for the new designs and routes.

This funding will support local authorities to maximise active travel investment by enhancing their technical skills. Local councils will be investing in resources dedicated to co-creating schemes communities want. Activities being funded include network planning, public engagement exercises and bespoke training for councillors and staff. The fund could see hundreds of new green jobs created across England.

Making active travel part of everyday journeys can improve health, cut costs and protect the environment. Cycling UK has estimated that if people cycled short journeys, they would save an average of £126 per year in fuel costs alone and would burn hundreds of extra calories each week.

Active Travel Minister Jesse Norman said:

"Leaving the car and walking and cycling instead is an easy way to get fit, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

"Better designed schemes, which take into account the views of local people will help deliver improvements that have widespread local support.

"Skills training and local community engagement will help local authorities to make active travel an attractive choice for getting around."

Developing teams that lead active travel programmes will create more cost-effective and well-targeted projects. Local authorities will learn how to enhance their engagement with residents, businesses and other road users to ensure schemes are delivered with local support.

National Active Travel Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said:

"If we want to enable hundreds of thousands more people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday trips then we need to deliver high-quality schemes that make it feel easy, fun and safe.

"Of course, ensuring the right technical skills are in place at a local level is vital but so is engagement. Survey after survey has shown strong community support for making space for active travel but it’s vital that people get strong input into helping to decide what is the right solution for their area."

The funding will also be used to engage under-represented groups and enable more children to walk, wheel and cycle to school. Community engagement programmes will give individuals the confidence to walk and cycle safely through cycle training, school walking groups and bike rental schemes. 

Xavier Brice, Chief Executive Officer of Sustrans, the charity that makes it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle, said:

"Sustrans is pleased to see this investment in training and community engagement which will ultimately lead to high-quality infrastructure developments across England that help people choose to use their cars less.

"This funding is crucial in ensuring that travelling actively is a safe and accessible option for all, particularly as we work towards the government’s goal of 50% of all journeys in towns and cities being walked or cycled by 2030.

"We’re looking forward to seeing ambitious plans being brought to life and continuing our work to support our local authorities in doing so."

People will benefit from better access to jobs and education through initiatives such as outreach to schools and employment centres.

The ‘capability fund’ will support local councils across the country to train and retain local engineers and planners, creating a skilled active travel workforce able to collaborate effectively with local communities and conduct high-quality engagement and consultation sessions.

As well as enabling local councils to hire and retain skilled professionals, this multi-million-pound investment will deliver specialised training, driving up skills and ensuring consistent, high-quality schemes are set up across England to give people truly attractive active travel choices.

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