The council has announced that it will spend £117 million in the next five years to help people using active travel such as walking, wheeling and cycling.

The Active Travel Investment Programme will be used to create over 85 km of protected cycle routes in accordance with plans which have already been drafted. The council updated its Active Travel Action Plan in 2016 setting out the environment in which active travel measures would be enhanced and improved.

A new Plan will be completed by summer 2022, and the council promises bold, exciting proposals similar to those published by Glasgow City Council this week in their Active Travel Strategy. The council will have to foot the bill for around a fifth of the cost of the Active Travel Investment Programme as The Scottish Government through Sustrans the transport charity will provide £80 million of the bill. A report is now published here and will be discussed at next week’s Transport and Environment Committee on Thursday.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “Supporting people to walk, wheel or bike around Edinburgh is essential for urgently lowering carbon emissions, promoting healthier lifestyles and creating safer streets. Our package of significant investment will kick-start a shift change in the delivery of schemes designed to help achieve this.

“The ATINP drives forward an ambitious programme of improvements which will, for the first time, lead to a truly connected network of protected walking and cycling routes, helping people get from A to B safely, quickly and conveniently. There is an urgency to this which many people already recognise.”

Councillor Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: “As we emerge from the Covid pandemic we have the opportunity to transform the way we travel around the city, and really support those who have embraced, or rediscovered, walking and cycling over the last 18 months.

“I’m excited to see our exciting programme of investment take shape over the coming years, and the positive impact it will have on all those who live, work and visit here.”

As part of the Spaces for People measures The City of Edinburgh Council introduced 39km of segregated cycle infrastructure (by comparison there are 1500km of roads in the city). With the planned investment over the next five years the cycle paths would extend by 211 km. Part of the programme will improve roads and streets around the city’s schools, helping children to get to school safely using active travel.

Full details of all the improvements which are planned (including reference to some schemes deemed unaffordable or previously shelved) under this programme are included in the appendix to this report here.

Spaces for People measures introduced on Comiston Road. Photo: © 2020, Martin P. McAdam