Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces £2bn package to boost cycling and pedestrian capacity

  • Video report from ITV News Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced a £2bn package to help increase cycling and walking capacity across the UK, as commuters face new challenges of getting to work during the coronavirus crisis.

The programme will be published in early June with the aim of doubling cycling and increasing walking to work by 2025.

Mr Shapps said it was likely that people’s commute into work using public transport would be changed dramatically due to the impact of Covid-19.

He said: “Whilst it’s crucial that we stay at home, when the country does get back to work we need to ask those people to carry on cycling or walking and for them to be joined by many others as well.”

Measures will include pop-up bike lanes and wider pavements as well as cycle and bus-only streets.

Mr Shapps said even if the transport network was running at full capacity, the two metre social distancing rule would mean only one in 10 passengers could travel.

Even if the transport network was running at full capacity, the two metre social distancing rule would mean only one in 10 passengers could travel. Credit: PA

He added: “Even with public transport recovering to full service, once you take into account the two metre social distancing rule there will only be effective capacity for one in 10 passengers.”

He said “getting Britain moving again while not overcrowding our transport network” would require many people to think about how and when they travel.

The number of daily coronavirus tests also fell below Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s 100,000 target for a seventh day in a row.

Mr Shapps said 96,878 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 9am on Saturday, down from 97,029 the day before.

It comes the day before Boris Johnson will provide an update on the future of the lockdown in England at 7pm on Sunday.

The Government is aiming to double cycling capacity by 2025. Credit: PA

There has been reports of people in the UK breaking the lockdown measures, but Mr Shapps said that “unequivocally” people should stay at home over the bank holiday weekend.

When asked if the Government was going to drop its “stay at home” message, Mr Shapps said that the guidance had not changed.

He added: “It’s just absolutely unequivocal, people should stay at home, people should follow the guidance – it hasn’t changed.

“It is vital we don’t throw away the great work of seven weeks, of people respecting the rules and guidelines."

Mr Shapps denied that the Government’s messaging strategy was “confusing”, and said it was completely consistent to tighten measures at borders yet loosen other lockdown measures.

He added: “I think that most people are more than capable of understanding what is meant.

“As the first secretary said when he announced the five principles, he said at that time there will be some places where we will wish to tighten and there will be other places of course where social distancing, or habits, or messaging may loosen.

“So I think it’s completely consistent with the plan.”

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know