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Part of the development of Sustrans

Below we have pleasure in including some of the stories we have previously covered on this site regarding the National Cycle Network

Sustrans marks World Health Day with call for more active travel
Blazing saddles through Cider country
Sustrans Travelsmart pilots show transport model shift is possible through individualised marketing
First guidelines for international cycle route development published in UK
Major new cycling and walking facility opens in Newry
Sustrans hosts Scottish Cycle Tourism forum
Sculpture and poetry to promote Kent National Cycle Network route
New link in the Phoenix Trail to open
Gloucester Travelsmart Project achieves important changes in personal travel habits
New art for the Spen Valley Greenway
Major initiative to combat obesity in children up and running.
Sustrans offers free consultations for business links to Cycle Network
Sustrans Cymru welcomes Welsh National Assembly grant for sustainable transport
Countryside Agency provides major financial boost to The National Cycle Network
End of year report from Sustrans

Sustrans marks World Health Day with call for more active travel

Sustrans marks the World Health Organisation's World Health Day (April 7th) with a call for more people to incorporate active travel into their daily routines.

50 years of private motor transport has meant door-to-door convenience, but has also left us with a legacy
that is both hostile to walking and cycling and causing tremendous health problems. Recent research from Nottingham University has confirmed the problem of asthma among children living close to main roads. Previous research has calculated that 24,000 deaths per year are associated with poor air quality to which motor traffic is the major contributor.

Added to these numbers is the longer term threat from the sedentary, inactive lifestyles encouraged by excessive car use. Even our young are less active and more prone to obesity than in the past. As the World Health Organisation is using World Health Day to "emphasise the importance of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle", Sustrans believes it is time to swing the balance back in favour of healthy, active ways of travelling.

Physical inactivity is a major contributor to many forms of ill health. Inactive people have double the risk of coronary heart disease and up to three times the risk of stroke, which together account for 35% of all deaths. Physical inactivity in England creates as much risk of coronary heart disease as smoking, raised serum cholesterol and raised blood pressure together.

Finding time for physical activity is a common excuse for people with a hectic modern lifestyle. The answer is to replace the hours spent every week in traffic jams with active travel on foot or bicycle. The Copenhagen Heart Study followed 30,000 men and
women over a 15-year period and found those who cycled to work were protected from a wide range of diseases associated with physical inactivity. The final report stated: "even after adjustment for other risk factors, those who did not cycle to work experienced a 39% higher mortality rate than those who did."

Sustrans, which for eight years has been developing the National Cycle Network and co-ordinating the national Safe Routes to Schools programme, has recently launched a new programme called Active Travel, supported by the British Heart Foundation, to tackle this issue.

The foremost authority on exercise and health research, Professor Jerry Morris, suggested in 1994 that physical activity should be seen as "public health's best buy".

John Grimshaw, Sustrans' Director and Chief Engineer, said today: "Given the relatively high cost and low take-up rates of conventional health promotion campaigns aimed at persuading individuals to change their behaviour, we feel able to assert that public health's best buy is in fact the National Cycle Network. In 2000, 60 million journeys were made on the Network. By 2005 Sustrans aims at least to double that level of use. Each and every journey will save one dose of traffic pollution administered to our fragile environment; equally, it will mean another person gets their 'recommended daily amount' of healthy, protective exercise."

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Sustrans wins Queens award for Enterprise for national Cycle Network

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development) for its work in co-ordinating the National Cycle Network.

The Award, announced on Her Majesty the Queen's personal birthday in her Golden Jubilee year, has been given to Sustrans for its work on the National Cycle Network that now covers 6,500 miles of the UK. 10,000 miles will be complete by 2005.

Sustrans is the only 2002 Award winner with charitable status.

The National Cycle Network was initiated by a grant from the Millennium Commission to provide a legacy of new facilities for walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users in the 21st Century. As Network co-ordinator, Sustrans designs routes, negotiates and purchases land, assembles funds, sets design standards, undertakes construction work, manages public consultations and promotes new routes. Sustrans manages 1,300 voluntary Community Rangers to help maintain the NCN and ensure signing is up-to-date and appropriate. The work has been possible through the co-operation of many partners, especially local authorities throughout the UK.

The Millennium Commission provided £43.5 million for the first phase of the project, completed in 2001, representing around 20% of the total costs. Other funding was provided by a variety of sources including local authorities, public bodies and statutory agencies, trusts, private donors, the European Union, the Highways Agency, the cycle trade and industry, and Sustrans' own 40,000 supporters.

Construction work on the NCN began in 1996 continuing routes already completed by Sustrans in the 1980s. Over 60 million trips were made in 2000 when the Network covered just 5,000 miles.

The NCN encourages cycling by providing safe, well-designed and signed routes on new traffic-free sections and quiet minor roads. It provides an ideal place to cycle and walk for families and those new to cycling, but with its growing number of links to schools, stations and business areas it is also useful for commuting and other utility purposes.

John Grimshaw MBE, Sustrans' Director and Chief Engineer, said today: "We are delighted to receive this award in recognition of the work we do, in partnership with others, to advance the opportunities for sustainable travel. A quarter of all car trips made are under 2 miles. The provision and promotion of routes that encourage more of these journeys to be made on foot or cycle, that is active travel, enhances the health of individuals, their communities and the environment."

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Blazing saddles through Cider country

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, hasorganised a two-day long 'Trailblazing Ride' to announce its intention to build a new cycle route from Weston-super-Mare to Seaton: The Wessex Way Cycle Route.

The ride sets off from Weston super Mare promenade at 8.30am on Saturday 4th May and finishes in Seaton at 4.30pm on Sunday 5th, after an overnight stop at Donyatt. Up to 50 cyclists will be involved at any one time as local cycling groups come out to join the
ride. Riders will stop at various towns on route to be met by local dignitaries and the grand finale will be a Civic Reception to greet the cyclists in Seaton.

The 60 mile long Wessex Way Cycle Route will, when completed, become Route 33 of the National Cycle Network. The Route will provide a beautiful and valuable transport link for walkers and cyclists in local communities through Somerset, West Dorset and East Devon, as well as providing a new way for tourists to discover the West Country.

Sustrans Wessex Route Manager, Michael Dennis, said: "It will be an immense pleasure to explore this picturesque route from the smooth sands of Weston-super-Mare south through Wessex to the newly recognised World Heritage "Jurassic Coast" at Seaton."

"Sustrans' looks forward to working with local people, Parish, District and County Councillors and staff, local cycling groups and local businesses to develop the enormous potential of this stunning route through the heart of the South West's countryside."

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Sustrans Travelsmart pilots show transport model shift is possible through individualised marketing

Sustrans today announced that it is looking to expand its TravelSmart initiative after two successful pilot schemes produced significant shifts to sustainable travel modes.

Since April 2001, Sustrans has been working on two TravelSmart pilot projects in Gloucester and in Frome, Somerset, to test an approach changing travel behaviour known as Individualised Marketing. This innovative technique, developed by Socialdata of Germany, uses direct contact with households to provide personalised information on the alternatives to the car and incentives to try them out.

In the Quedgeley area of Gloucester the pilot scheme involving 500 people achieved a 9% reduction in journeys made by car (around half of these trips were switched to walking , a quarter to cycling and a quarter to public transport).

In Frome, a more rural location, the second pilot scheme achieved a 6% reduction in journeys made by car, of which more than 80% was substituted by walking. Use of public transport among the sample population grew by around 10% and there was a 60%
increase in the low level of cycling.

These results show that TravelSmart, relying purely on voluntary changes in transport habits, could make a significant contribution to local and national policy objectives on transport, the environment and health. The changes are achieved by providing people with information on travel options that are currently available and do not involve new infrastructure, facilities or congestion charging.

James Ryle, Sustrans TravelSmart Co-ordinator, said: "These are very encouraging results. They show clearly that many people, given the opportunity and the right information, are happy to leave the car at home occasionally. These small changes in individual transport choices can add up to make a big difference to traffic levels."

In partnership with Socialdata Sustrans is now looking to widen the TravelSmart scheme in Gloucester and expand to other parts of the UK. A TravelSmart initiative is already planned as part of the VIVALDI initiative in Bristol with Bristol City Council.

The Quedgeley TravelSmart pilot project was managed by Sustrans in partnership with Socialdata, funded by Gloucestershire County Council and supported by Gloucester City Council. Other key project partners were Stagecoach, Swanbrook Transport, Quedgeley Parish Council and Vision 21. The Frome TravelSmart pilot project was managed by Sustrans in partnership with Socialdata, funded by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs through the Environmental Action Fund, the New Opportunities Fund (Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities Programme) and Sustrans. Both projects received in-kind contributions from public transport operators and local cycle retailers.

TravelSmart is the name adopted for the Individualised Marketing initiative being piloted by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity. It takes its name from a successful project first run in Perth, Western Australia, also implemented by Socialdata.

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First guidelines for international cycle route development published in UK

A new set of guidelines by EuroVelo (the European cycle route network) have been released today to provide technical information on the standards expected for EuroVelo routes and in order to share good practice with route developers across the whole of Europe.

The new "EuroVelo Guidelines for Implementation" document has been produced on behalf of EuroVelo by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, in association with TMS Consultancy.

EuroVelo is the project to develop 12 long-distance international cycle routes spanning Europe (East and West). The network will be used for cycling holidays as well as local journeys and will provide a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to the motor car. EuroVelo is a catalyst, spreading best practice in cycle route development across all of Europe.

The new guidelines list the best existing technical practice from 12 countries and at European level, including the National Cycle Network guidelines and the IHT/CTC publication Cycle Friendly Infrastructure.

Philip Insall, Sustrans' International Liaison Manager and editor of the new guidelines, said today: "We have worked with colleagues in more than 20 countries to put together these guidelines to planning and building international cycle routes. The development of EuroVelo is a massively complicated task, but with the shift in European transport policies towards greener travel and the predictions of a 20 billion cycle tourism market by 2020, we are confident of its success."

The EuroVelo guidelines is available from Sustrans online at

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Major new cycling and walking facility opens in Newry

The Newry Canal Way was officially opened this morning at Scarva Visitors Centre.† The upgrading of the 20 mile long towpath which runs from Newry to Portadown is a joint project between Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, and the Newry - Portadown Canal Joint Development Committee.† The towpath is a section of the National Cycle Network (Route 9) and will provide a major new cycling and walking amenity for local people and visitors to the area.†

As well as being traffic-free, the towpath boasts many attractions on route, such as specially commissioned artworks reflecting local industrial heritage, Millennium Mileposts which are the National Cycle Network waymarkers, and two visitor centres.† Whilst linking Portadown and Newry, the towpath also passes through the smaller villages of Jerrettspass, Poyntzpass and Scarva, the latter renowned for its success in the international Entente Floriale competition.

Welcoming the opening of the towpath Councillor Robert Turner, Chairman of the Newry- Portadown Joint Canal Committee, said: "Our ultimate aim is to once again create a navigable waterway linking Lough Neagh to Carlingford Lough and to-day is the first major step in that direction.† The new towpath offers local communities the chance to benefit from increased visitor numbers arriving on bike and foot.† We would encourage people to come an enjoy a day out on the Newry Canal Way."

The project, has taken four years to complete and has seen construction of brand new sections of path and upgrading of existing paths.† The total cost has been £750,000 with a contribution of £250,000 from the Millennium Commission.† As well as the four Councils, other partners who have supported the project include the Environment & Heritage Service (DOE), Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Countryside Access and Activities Network, Enterprise Ulster and the Rivers Agency.

Steven Patterson, Sustrans Regional Manager, said: "The Northern Ireland Cycling Strategy has set a target to double cycle use by 2005 and safety for cyclists is a key issue.† We are delighted that this 20 mile section of towpath will provide a facility for people of all ages and abilities to once again discover the bicycle as a form of transport."

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Sustrans hosts Scottish Cycle Tourism forum

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, is hosting a one day 'Cycle Tourism Forum' on Wednesday, 27th March in Glasgow.

The Cycle Tourism Project is co-ordinated by Sustrans and sponsored by Forward Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.† The Project aims to develop and expend cycle tourism in Scotland.† Cycle tourism includes holidays where cycling is the main purpose, where cycling is one of a number of activities undertaken, as well as cycling day trips.

The aim of the Forum is to bring all bodies with interests in cycling, tourism, transport and the environment together to:
* Review the current situation - perceptions, infrastructure, promotional activity and any gaps.
* Enable the exchange of information, expertise and ideas.
* Encourage the creation of networks.
* Identify what needs to be done to develop cycle tourism in Scotland to achieve its full potential.
* Input to and influence the brief for the Scottish Cycle Tourism Strategy.
Sustrans is to prepare a brief in April this year for a Cycle Tourism Strategy for Scotland, which will guide further development.† Members of the Scottish Cycle Tourism Steering Group are the CTC, Forest Enterprise, Forward Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Kingdom of Fife Tourist Board, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Executive, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Tourism and Environment Forum, and VisitScotland.

The Forum includes many speakers from around Scotland, and also speakers from successful projects in Wales, the North of England and Switzerland.

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Sculpture and poetry to promote Kent National Cycle Network route

The launch of phase one in a new 'Art in the Travelling Landscape' project on the Chalk and Channel Way walking and cycling route will be marked by the unveiling of sculpture, and a performance of poetry, on Smallpox Hill, Folkestone.

Children from two local schools involved in the project will be in attendance.

The Chalk and Channel Way (part of National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 2) links the harbours of Dover and Folkestone with the top of the famous white cliffs.† Sustrans' 'Art in the Travelling Landscape' project created an opportunity for lead artist Tim Clapcott to develop a new sculpture capturing the mood of the urban and rural theme.† The work is inspired by the skeletons of the microscopic coccolithic animals from which the white cliffs are formed.† The outsized coccolithe forms are cast in concrete with ceramic insets and are placed around an excavated circular seating area on the hill overlooking Folkestone Harbour.

Working within this same concept, Tim Clapcott has worked with students from two local schools (Astor School, Dover and St Mary's C of E Primary School, Folkestone) to create a series of decorated concrete paviours laid at several other sites along the route.

In addition, poet Ros Barber has been commissioned to write poetry and text on a theme in tune with the sculpture, the other local faura and fauna and the unique landscape of the white cliffs.† Some of the poetry will be performed by Ros at the launch.

Sustrans' project has worked in conjunction and sympathy with the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit.† The £33,500 costs have been met by Interreg (from the European Regional Development Fund) via Kent County Council, with support from Dover District Council, Shepway District Council, White Cliffs Countryside Project, South East Arts Lottery Programme, Sustrans and The Countryside Agency.

A 6-mile cycle ride, also to mark the end of phase one of the project, will be held on Sunday 14th April.

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New link in the Phoenix Trail to open

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, will next week open part of the former railway line between Thame and Princes Risborough; the Phoenix Trail, as a new cycling and walking path.†

The official opening ceremony for the shared-use path will take place at 12.00pm on Tuesday 26th March at the old railway station which can be accessed from Chowns Close in Thame.† The ceremony will be proceeded by a mass cycle ride along the Trail from Princes Risborough at 11.00am.†

The new section of the path connects the eastern bypass and Windmill Road in Thame.† A new tarmac path was laid at the beginning of February, including a landscaped section at the old station site at Thame.† Much help has come for the new section of path from businesses including Tesco's, British Rail, Crest Homes, Gleesons and BP Oil.†

Financial support for the latest construction work has come from Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and South East England Development Agency.†

Simon Pratt, Sustrans Area Manager, said: "We are delighted that this section of the Phoenix Trail is now open.† It is already very popular with local
people and is well used for short local journeys.† Thanks are due to our local supporters, landowners and contractors for their assistance in completing this phase of the project."

Bryony John, Secretary of Thame Better Ways to School Group, said: "The Phoenix Trail has something to suit everyone, whether it's a quick and traffic-free cycle route, a tranquil path to amble along with your dog on a summers evening, somewhere safe to teach your child to ride their first bicycle, or a connecting route for horses to get on and off the Ridgeway at Bledlow.† See you there!"

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Gloucester Travelsmart Project achieves important changes in personal travel habits

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, today announces the results of its year long TravelSmart pilot project in the Quedgeley area of Gloucester.

The full results will be published at a seminar hosted by Gloucester City Council to be held at the Civic Suite at 6.30pm tonight.†

TravelSmart has achieved a significant decrease (9%) in the number of journeys made by car, of which approximately half were made on foot, a quarter cycling and another quarter on public transport.† The scheme uses a system of Individualised Marketing which provides personalised travel information and incentives for people to travel differently.†

These results show that TravelSmart, relying purely on voluntary changes in transport habits, could make a significant contribution to local and national policy objectives on transport, the environment and health.

The Quedgeley TravelSmart pilot project was managed by Sustrans in partnership with Socialdata, funded by Gloucestershire County Council and supported by Gloucester City Council.† Other key project partners were Stagecoach, Swanbrook Transport, Quedgeley Parish Council and Vision 21.†

James Ryle, Sustrans TravelSmart Co-ordinator, said: "These are very encouraging results.† They show clearly that many people, given the opportunity and the right information, are happy to leave the car at home occasionally.† These small changes in individual transport choices can add up to make a big difference to traffic levels."

Cllr Nick Durrant, Gloucester City Council Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: "Gloucester has an excellent track record in pioneering innovative solutions to difficult transport problems and the success of this pilot project in Gloucester could be far reaching in terms of reversing the relentless growth in traffic in the city.† I am sure the results of this work, unprecedented in the UK, will be widely welcomed and the council will be seeking with our partners further funding opportunities to extend this project in Gloucester."

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New art for the Spen Valley Greenway

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, and Public Arts will this Wednesday unveil proposals for an ambitious new arts scheme along the Spen Valley Greenway.

At a meeting to be held at Cleckheaton Town Hall on Wednesday 13th March between 3.30 and 8.30pm, the proposed artworks will be revealed to the public.† The artworks, which have all been designed specifically for the Spen Valley Greenway will further improve what is already a highly popular local cycle and walking path.†

The Spen Valley Greenway runs between Bradford and Dewsbury, providing access to the countryside in a densely populated area.† The meeting will showcase 12 artists initial proposals and several will be commissioned to produce their artworks.† Poet John Duffy and photographer Sarah Daniels have already been working with local people and will be showing photographs and poems collated on the Greenway.

Sustrans Arts Co-ordinator, Katy Hallett said: "We are hoping that this arts project will create a 'flag- ship' section of cycle and walkway for local people to enjoy.† It will also attract sustainable tourism to the area."

Karen Durham, Project Manager from Public Arts said "We are delighted to be working with Sustrans on this exciting project and look forward to seeing the artists proposals"

This project has received funding from Yorkshire Arts through its Regional Arts Lottery Programme. The Spen Valley Greenway has been substantially funded by the New Opportunities Fun

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Major initiative to combat obesity in children up and running.

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, today called on more schools throughout the UK to implement Safe Routes to Schools projects to help combat the reported growing trend in obesity in children.

The call comes in response to a research carried out by the Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol and the Southampton University Hospitals Trust that found the first cases of type 2 diabetes developing in overweight children.† Researcher Dr Julian Shield called for 'a major initiative to combat the increasing obesity of our childhood population.'

Sustrans has been working on supporting Safe Routes to Schools initiatives, to encourage children to walk and cycle to school rather than using cars, since its successful pilot schemes that started in 1995.† It now provides support for 871 schools that have initiated projects throughout the UK and is looking to expand the scheme even further.

A Sustrans spokesperson said today: "Actively travelling to school, rather than sitting in a car, is a tremendous way to help children to lead a healthy way of life.† Safe Routes to Schools schemes can help improve the environment by taking cars from the streets during the traditional school run, but
its potential contribution to health is also an important consideration.† We are already supporting 871 schemes around the UK, but would like to see still more schools take up the initiative."

Enquiries to Sustrans from schools, parents, communities and local authorities have almost trebled since September 1999, and contacts with people
interested in schemes has risen from 1,200 to over 6,000.† Sustrans Safe Routes to Schools project is supported by a grant from the Communities Fund.

16 minutes cycling, or 20 minutes walking will use around 100 calories for someone weighing 62Kg (DoH and DTLR - Walk In to Work Out 2002).

Sustrans has also recently launched its own Active Travel unit to specifically promote the health aspects of walking and cycling.

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Sustrans offers free consultations for business links to Cycle Network

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, is offering free initial consultations that will enable businesses throughout the UK to determine the viability of providing links into the National Cycle Network for staff and customers.

Sustrans has, to date, been working in a number of successful partnerships on schemes with businesses in the manufacturing sector, offices, retail shops and supermarkets, local authorities, universities and hospitals.† Where the National Cycle Network (NCN) is located near to business premises, clearly defined signed links into those premises have proven remarkably successful in encouraging many more people to walk and cycle.† Schemes have been particularly successful where secure cycle parking and other facilities are also provided.

Sustrans has found that where links and facilities have been provided, walkers and cyclists take advantage of the many benefits that include health and environmental improvements, and which are often also cheaper and quicker than using a car in urban areas.

Iain Macbeth, Site Development Manager for The Boots Company plc in Nottingham said: "NCN Route 6 runs some 100 metres from our main west gate to the site, which is a great incentive to the 500 who cycle to work each day."

John Elliott, Transport Manager of Pfizer Ltd in Sandwich, Kent said: "The only group of workers enjoying their journey to work are the cyclists.† We recently opened 180 new secure cycle spaces to meet the demand."

Sustrans is offering an initial free consultation, that will provide a map with the business site shown in relation to the NCN, to any business that sends a postcode address to Gaspar Sanvicens, Sustrans' Working the Net Project Director at its Bristol Head Office (35 King Street, Bristol, BS1 4DZ).† If a business then decides to take the matter further, Sustrans offers further investigation and report on a commission basis.†

Using its map-based spatial database (Geographical Information System), postcode data and GIS analysis tools, Sustrans can produce a clear picture of staff travel patterns, plotted against an Ordnance Survey map.† From this information the potential benefits to company and staff alike can be ascertained.

Gasper Sanvicens, Sustrans' Working the Net Director said today: "Two thirds of our daily journeys use a car for less than five miles, half of them under two miles.† There is clearly a lot of scope for cutting traffic and the pollution that goes with it, whilst encouraging a healthier active travelling alternative at the same time."

The Working the Net information sheet (FF34) is available free of charge from Sustrans' Information Department () or on its website .uk.

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Sustrans Cymru welcomes Welsh National Assembly grant for sustainable transport

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, today voiced it's approval of the announcement yesterday by Sue Essex, Welsh National Assembly Minister for Environment, that there would be further investment in local transport initiatives.† The total Transport Grant package of funding means an additional £130 million for schemes including £10 million for rail infrastructure improvements and support for a number of innovative public transport schemes including the ground-breaking Snowdonia Green Key Goriad Gwyrdd Initaitive, promoting sustainable transport to the Snowdonia National Park.

An estimated £2 million has been awarded for a number of local walking and cycling schemes that will be developed by local authorities as part of their local transport† packages and some of the larger infrastructure schemes.† The announcement also included £2.7 million towards 22 local Safe Routes to Schools schemes across Wales.† Sustrans will be offering support through its own Safe Routes to Schools programme which offers an information and advice line for new projects, and has been running pilot Safe Routes to Schools projects throughout England since 1995.

Commenting on the allocation of funds for the Safe Routes to Schools schemes, Ms Essex said,† "This initiative is going from strength to strength each year and its popularity is enhanced by the commitment shown by the local communities - children and adults alike.† As well as tackling congestion caused by the school run, we are helping to improve the health and independence of children in Wales and creating safer communities for us all to live in."

Matt Price, Sustrans Cymru National Manager, said: "The success of the Safe Routes to Schools scheme demonstrates that walking and cycling can provide a practical and healthy alternative to the short car journey.† Creating better local routes and links to public transport facilities is fundamental to the aim of reducing traffic congestion and tackling its adverse effects.† The National Assembly for Wales will shortly go out to consultation on its Walking and Cycling Strategy for Wales which will set the priorities for future investment in better walking and cycling facilities in all parts of urban and rural Wales.† We aim to work closely with the National Assembly and every local authority to help bring about this vision"

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Countryside Agency provides major financial boost to The National Cycle Network

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, announced today that it has been offered a grant from the Countryside Agency that will enable the rapid completion of several sections of the National Cycle Network.

The grant of £250,000 will allow the completion of several key sections on both the Pennine Cycleway and the Devon Coast to Coast Route.† All of these sections are traffic-free, following the route of disused railway paths and therefore help to make cycling safe and more accessible for families and
inexperienced cyclists.† Both routes feature some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and are in or pass by National Parks.

The works will help encourage cyclists, walkers and wheelchair-users into areas that have been hit hard by Foot and Mouth.† Cycle tourism is currently estimated at around £650 million in the UK.

Clare Stevens of the Countryside Agency said today: "We hope that our grant towards these vital missing links will provide an extra motive for people to visit the countryside this Spring."

Sustrans Northern Area Manager, Bryn Dowson, said today: "The Countryside Agency award has enabled us to open key sections of the National Cycle Network far in advance of what we had envisaged.† The project will bring many new visitors and their money into areas hit hard by Foot and Mouth."

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End of Year report from Sustrans

2001 was a remarkably productive year for Sustrans - the sustainable transport charity.

In November, Sustrans announced that the first phase of the Millennium Commission funded National Cycle Network (NCN) was complete with 6,000 miles in place.† Sustrans confirmed that it is on target to have 10,000 miles in place by 2005.

The National Cycle Network is a Millennium Commission project supported by £43.5m of National Lottery Funds.† It is the only project geographically reaching the whole of the UK. The Network includes 6,000 miles of safe, attractive and high quality routes for cyclists and is providing a major new amenity for walkers and wheelchair users.

There were a great many route openings and other events around the NCN throughout 2001.† Most memorable perhaps were more than ten new landmark bridges in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.† These included the Machynlleth Millennium Bridge designed by artist Jon Mills, and the Sedgefield 'winged' Winyard Bridge opened by the Prime Minister in September.

March saw the launch of the fascinating Time Trail at Greenwich Royal Observatory, which involves a treasure hunt with clues mounted upon 1,000 Millennium Mileposts throughout the UK sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland.† The NCN also continued to establish itself as the largest outdoor art gallery through its 'Art in the Travelling Landscape' programme with many new features added throughout the year.† A new round of art projects is planned for 2002.

2001 also saw Sustrans passing the 1,300 mark in recruiting NCN Community Volunteer Rangers who help to ensure the Network is thoroughly maintained and properly signed as well as encouraging local people to use local routes.

Besides the NCN, 2001 also saw other Sustrans projects forging ahead.† Its highly successful Safe Routes to Schools programme moved into top gear with new Community Funding which will allow Sustrans to help train and fully support School Champions - the driving force behind Safe Routes to Schools schemes.

New Sustrans projects such as Home Zones, TravelSmart and rural transport initiatives have been progressing with several promising pilot schemes.† All these projects will come together in the innovative Bristol VIVALDI project which is being launched in February 2002 and includes a whole range of sustainable transport initiatives with other partners (including the City Council and First Bus Company) and multi-million pound funding coming from Europe and elsewhere.

Sustrans has begun work on its £7.4 million Green Routes, Safe Routes umbrella programme, which is part of the New Opportunities Fund's Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities programme.† Through this scheme, Sustrans is working with partner bodies across England to deliver a range of projects that create routes to or within green spaces, Safe Routes to Schools and Safe Routes to Stations as well as Home Zones.† Projects are targeted in disadvantaged areas.

2002 will clearly see Sustrans building on its achievements of 2001 and continuing to provide practical solutions to improve our environment and lessen our apparent dependence on motorised transport.

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