Funding secured for missing active travel links in rural Clydesdale
Community Active Lanarkshire (CAL) has been awarded a grant from Sustrans’ Places For Everyone programme to undertake an ambitious new active travel project which will enable the Abington, Leadhills and Douglas communities to link up with nearby settlements and services.
Sustrans’ Places For Everyone programme is funded by the Scottish Government and aims to make places safer, healthier and more attractive through increasing and improving every day active travel journeys.
As evidenced under the Covid-19 temporary travel restrictions, the benefits of active travel have never been more apparent, with more people taking up walking, cycling and wheeling for essential journeys than ever before. Now moving out of lockdown and looking toward the future, Community Action Lanarkshire is resolved to ensure local active journeys are a viable option for everyone in the rural Clydesdale area.
Until now, it has only been a lack of infrastructure which has limited the options for those travelling in and around Abington, Leadhills and Douglas. This contrasts with the situation faced in many other rural settings, where it is often long distances and uneven terrain which present the greatest barrier to walking, wheeling and cycling.
Through their previous projects in the rural communities, Community Action Lanarkshire have identified three routes that are popular locally as potential active travel solutions: Abington to Abington Services, Leadhills to Wanlockhead, and Douglas to National Cycle Network. Currently, however, these routes are only realistically suitable for vehicular traffic.
The newly funded project will now undertake feasibility studies for each of these routes, which will seek to examine the new infrastructure options in greater detail. This will be followed by a period of engagement with the local communities, as well stakeholders and landowners in order to receive their input.
Although the current funding is limited to one year, it is anticipated that this initial grant will lead to Community Action Lanarkshire securing a future funding award from Places For Everyone to create detailed designs and ultimately install the new infrastructure.
Project Officer for Community Action Lanarkshire Jemma Campbell said:
“For these rural communities, there is a real desire to travel in more active, sustainable ways but the main barrier is the lack of infrastructure. We are delighted to have secured funding for this project to start looking at real on the ground change and look forward to engaging the communities.”
Infrastructure Officer for Sustrans Tim Aeberli said:
“Sustrans is delighted to support the Rural Development Trust with the delivery of three active travel links within and between the rural villages in Clydesdale area. Previous engagement organised by the Trust with local residents have shown that there is a strong demand for more active travel links to key amenities and public transport interchanges in the area. We look forward to work together to meet this demand and offer healthy and safe alternatives to car-based journeys.”