West Sussex receives Zero score from Active Travel England

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West Sussex County Council is confident that it will soon be able to bid for Active Travel money again.

Active Travel England has been working with local authorities to make sure infrastructure such as cycle paths is in place to meet the government’s aim of ensuring that 50 per cent of journeys in towns and cities will be walked or cycled by 2030.

In 2021, the council was banned from bidding for the government funding following its decision to remove pop-up cycle lanes less than six months after they had been installed.

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While that decision may have gone down well with some drivers, who had complained about congestion along the routes, cycling groups were furious.

Cycle laneCycle lane
Cycle lane

And the Minister of State at the Department for Transport, made it clear the government was not happy with the move given the lanes had been paid for using Active Travel grant money.

In a letter to leader Paul Marshall, the minister said the cycle lanes had been removed ‘before they had been fully tested and/or optimised’.

Almost two years later, the government has published a list rating 79 authorities from zero to four for their leadership, ambition and record when it comes to delivering Active Travel.

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While grading itself as a ‘one’, West Sussex was one of only four authorities to receive a ‘zero’ from Active Travel England (ATE).

But the council is convinced things are looking up.

A spokesman said: “While ATE’s level zero assessment of our capability is disappointing, we are confident that with the help and guidance being provided by ATE, we will soon be able to demonstrate that we meet the criteria for level one grading and be able to bid for Active Travel capital monies accordingly.

“As part of our conversations with ATE, we have received positive feedback on our approach to increasing our rating and plan to meet with them again at the end of March to discuss further actions.”

In January, the council was also allowed to bid for a grant from the Capability & Ambition Revenue Fund

That bid proved successful to the tune of £237,667.

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The council spokesman said ATE had provided the authority with training opportunities, mentoring and support to help develop an action plan to improve how well it can deliver on all aspects of active travel.