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Council leader responds to cycle lane comments

Sefton Council’s leader, Cllr Ian Maher, has responded to a number of comments regarding the installation of central government required cycle lanes in the borough.

Earlier this year the Government announced its Emergency Active Travel Fund, and called for Councils to reallocate road space urgently to produce cycling and walking facilities.

Explaining the background to the schemes, Sefton Council Leader said: “Working with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Sefton Council submitted a bid to the Government fund and was successful in securing funding for two schemes, in Bootle and Southport Town Centre, which met the Government’s criteria for the fund.”

These two schemes are based on key routes previously identified in the Liverpool City Region Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and make it easier and safer for people to visit town centre shops, workplaces and other facilities in Bootle and Southport by bike or on foot.

Cllr Ian Maher, continued: “In May during what was and still remains an incredibly difficult time for councils across the country, the Conservative Government, through their Emergency Active Travel Fund, placed significant pressure on Sefton Council to urgently reallocate road space to produce cycling and walking facilities.

“To further compound these pressures, the Government then stipulated that these schemes had to be started within four weeks and completed within eight weeks of funding being approved.

“This, unfortunately, meant it was not possible to carry out a consultation in the way we normally would with our valued communities, due to the incredibly restrictive nature of Mr Moore’s Conservative Government’s timescale and requirements.

“We are wholly aware of the continued need to make savings and recoup income to help cope with ongoing and ever increasing Government cuts in funding and Mr Moore is correct in saying this Central Government scheme will indeed further cause Sefton Council to lose out on much needed revenue.

“The Council will be monitoring these routes closely and will keep them under review over the coming months, so that we understand how we can both improve them for people who walk and cycle as well as further support our local economy at this crucial time.”