Derry~Londonderry's dedicated walking and cycling network receives £1.2million

It's almost one year since the largest gathering of Santa Clauses turned out in Derry~Londonderry to show their support for Sustrans' Connect2 winning bid to bring £50million from the Big Lottery Fund to 79 communities across the UK to create networks for everyday journeys for people travelling by foot or bike.

On Friday, December 12, 2008, the multi-million pound project to connect communities in the east and west of the city to the new Ilex foot and cycle bridge is a step closer as sustainable transport charity Sustrans and its Connect2 partners at Derry City Council sign the paperwork that will guide the development for the coming years.

This Letter of Offer confirms partners continued commitment to the project and pledges £1.2million from Sustrans' Connect2 lottery award to complete the Riverside Greenway which will connect people to the iconic - soon to be built - foot and cycle bridge and the existing Foyle bridge.

To ensure that it becomes a living, breathing asset to the city, the walking and cycling greenway will link communities from either side of the river over the new bridge to the bus station, the city centre and the regeneration spaces at Ebrington and St Columb's Park in a way which is tranquil, direct and convenient. It is anticipated that work will begin in 2009 and the completed greenway will open in 2011.

The Mayor, Cllr Gerard Diver says: "I am delighted that we have now secured the funding for this very important project to complete a traffic-free route from bridge to bridge on either side of the river. This will provide an essential link for walkers and cyclists alike, and will provide an attractive and tranquil riverside route for everyday journeys to work, to school or the shops."

Sustrans' Area Manager for Derry/Londonderry and the North West, Ross McGill, says: "Last December, the people of the city voted for a riverside greenway to open up the city for everyday journeys by foot and by bike as part of Sustrans' Connect2 lottery bid. Today, we're delighted that our partners at Derry City Council have officially accepted the offer of funding, and we look forward to creating a better environment for people to walk and cycle more frequently, to the benefit of both their health and the environment."

This scheme has been made possible through the enormous popular support for Sustrans' Connect2 - as voted for by the public in the UK's largest lottery competition last December.

The anticipated cost of the Derry~Londonderry scheme is in excess of £2.1million, with £1.2million coming from the Big Lottery Fund as part of Sustrans Connect2. The scheme is one of six in Northern Ireland to receive such funding, with Ballymoney, Dungannon, Newtownabbey, Omagh and Strabane all expected to sign their letters of offer shortly.

The lottery award will be added to locally sourced match-funding to transform local travel in 79 communities throughout the UK - changing the lives of six million people who live within a mile of a scheme. Over the next five years, nearly £30 million will be invested annually to create these local walking and cycling networks from Devon to Perthshire.

Sustrans is the UK's leading sustainable transport charity. Its vision is a world in which people choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. It is achieving this through innovative but practical solutions to the UK's transport challenges.
§ Sustrans' flagship project, the National Cycle Network, is now around 12,000 miles and runs within one mile of 55 per cent of the UK population. During 2007 over 354 million trips were made on the Network. There are around 2,500 rangers helping to look after the National Cycle Network.

Sustrans' Connect2 is a UK-wide project that will transform local travel in 79 communities by creating new bridges and crossings to overcome busy roads, rivers and railways, and linking these to networks of walking and cycling routes. As a result millions of people will be able to walk and cycle more for everyday journeys.

Sustrans' Connect2 won £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks: The People's Millions as a result of a public vote televised on ITV1 in December 2007.

Connect2 is a £142 million scheme - £50 million from the largest ever single lottery grant - and the remaining millions in match funding for individual projects.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.

Source: Sustrans