Northern Ireland news

Nichola Mallon announces £20 million funding to help 'in the way we live and travel'

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon pictured with Donna McGarvey, one of the new Roads Division staff assigned to active travel delivery

INFRASTRUCTURE minister Nichola Mallon has announced £20 million of funding to help "in the way we live and travel".

Ms Mallon said "at the heart" of the Blue/Green fund will be active travel projects across Northern Ireland to ensure "travel is a safer and more attractive option for people getting around".

The SDLP minister said she is "taking forward a wide-range of proposals including provision of cycle-paths, footpaths, controlled crossings, and place-making schemes".

She also said she had created a range of new posts across the department's four roads divisions to "ensure an efficient and effective roll-out" of the plans.

Ms Mallon said over the past year, work had been undertaken to "build momentum for the changes our society needs when it comes to having greener, cleaner and better infrastructure".

"This change requires continued partnership working with local government and local people to ensure that our places are shaped by and for local citizens," she said.

"At the heart of this fund will also be £11 million of active travel projects across Northern Ireland to get schemes on the ground, to ensure active travel is a safer and more attractive option for people getting around.

"I have wanted to see these changes realised since coming to office, but with the added challenge of Covid not enough has been done.

"We now need to change that.

"That is why I am investing and focusing my team on delivery, getting projects on the ground and making sure active travel becomes an option for many more families across the north."

Ms Mallon previously confirmed £2.5 million to support the development of greenways by councils over the next year, which is on top of the £11 million of active travel schemes being taken forward directly by the Department for Infrastructure.

"I know there is much more to be done but this is now our opportunity to make progress and I am listening to the changes that people want," she added.

"Active travel is very much needed not only for health and well-being but also as a significant action in our response to climate change."

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