THE FIRST details of work to encourage more cycling in Ilkley and Otley have been announced.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has released the information after being awarded £2.5 million to deliver the first phase of proposals to boost sustainable travel across the county.

The money, from the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund, will be used by the authority (WYCA) - working with local authorities - to ‘deliver a wide-ranging programme of trial cycling and walking measures’.

Some schemes are expected to start within weeks and in Leeds the work will include the installation of 250 cycle stands across the city.

Otley is to also get its own ‘cycle parking package’ while projects in the Bradford district will include a number of specific measures for Ilkley, including:

*Social distancing measures on The Grove to help shoppers

*Work to widen the footway at the railway bridge on Wheatley Lane, Ben Rhydding

*Widening the pedestrian crossing outside Ilkley Grammar School.

Across WYCA’s area, meanwhile, trial protected cycle lanes are to be created along key routes into city and town centres.

That will involve re-allocating road space to create temporary cycle lanes along main routes into Bradford and widening and segregating existing cycle lanes on the A660, Leeds.

Chair of the WYCA Transport Committee, Councillor Kim Groves, said: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised our ambition to put cycling and walking at the centre of our response to the transport challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The plan for future investment in cycling and walking will help us build on the significant progress that we’ve already made to enable more people to travel by bike and on foot – and, indeed, strengthens our plans for the £317 million Transforming Cities Fund announced earlier this year.

“New research is showing we need to increase cycling and walking trips by at least 2,000 per cent and 78 per cent respectively to achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.

“Long-term, sustainable and flexible Government funding is absolutely vital in helping us meet these ambitions.”

The proposals will also include the creation of low traffic neighbourhoods across Leeds and measures to reduce traffic around 58 schools in West Yorkshire to enable more children to walk, cycle or scoot to school.

The WYCA will also be providing increased support to help people travel by bike - including free adult cycle training and e-cargo bike loans in Leeds and Bradford.

The authority has been provisionally allocated £12.5 million from the Emergency Active Travel Fund.

Now, following confirmation of the £2.5 million ‘first phase’’ funding, it is working to secure the rest of the funding from the Government.