(L - R): Dawn Brown, sustainable travel officer; Thomas Prentice, from Aycliffe Business Park Community; Paddy O’Connor, volunteer cycle leader; and Cllr James Rowlandson, Cabinet member for resources, investment and assets.
Matthew Neville

County Durham to offer a “healthier commute” via £650k government funding

Durham County Council’s plan to create an active travel corridor in Newton Aycliffe is now complete following £650k in funding from the government’s Active Travel Fund.

The corridor runs alongside the A167 between Moore Lane and St Cuthbert’s Way, with links to Aycliffe Village. It also forms part of the Great North Cycleway, a long-distance national cycle route linking Blyth to Darlington.

Following a consultation with residents and businesses, improvements have seen footpaths widened for pedestrians and a separate two-way cycle lane offering people who live and work in the town a healthier travel alternative.

The government made £2bn available for walking and cycling in 2020 as part of its Active Travel Fund, aiming to help change the way that people travel in response to the pandemic. In addition to the funding for Newton Aycliffe, the council was also awarded almost £400k to improve walking and cycling infrastructure in and around Durham City as part of the fund.

Cllr James Rowlandson, Cabinet member for resources, investments and assets, said: “It is fantastic to see the creation of the active travel corridor in Newton Aycliffe. This is offering people who live and work in the town a sustainable form of transport that has many benefits for their health and wellbeing, as well the environment.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way in which people travel and exercise, with many families starting to exercise together. We hope that these enhancements will encourage more residents to make the most of their local area, enjoy the outdoors together and make active choices in how they commute to work.”

Thomas Prentice, representative of the Aycliffe Business Park Community, added: “This is an excellent step forward in offering people a healthier commute to work and we are fully supportive of the improved walking and cycling infrastructure.

“The physical and mental wellbeing of our workforce is very important to us. Hopefully, this will encourage more people to travel on foot or by bike and help more commuters to interact on their way to or from work, offering social benefits as well as a healthy travel alternative.”

Residents will also be invited to have their say on the completed active travel corridor later this month, when the council launches a further consultation.

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