Millions of pounds has been allocated to improve transport in the Midlands as part of an emergency travel grant.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, revealed the region will benefit from £43 million to fund new cycling and walking lanes, as well as reopening some lines and stations that were closed in the Beeching cuts.

As part of the announcement:

£38m

Has been awarded for new cycling and walking lanes

£5.1m

Will ramp up critical light rail services in Nottingham and the West Midlands

£150k

Three projects have been awarded £50k each to reopen lines and stations closed in the Beeching cuts

The money is part of a £225 million nationwide scheme to regenerate local economies and make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Money has also been allocated to help people get their bikes repaired to boost the number of cyclists.

As part of the £5.1 million to 'ramp up' light rail services in the Midlands, Nottingham Express Transit has received £3.5 million to increase its services, while the West Midlands Metro has been given £1.6 million.

New cycle and walking lanes will also be introduced under the new emergency travel grant. Credit: PA

In another huge boost for the region, three schemes have been granted up to £50,000 each to reopen railway lines and stations that were closed as part of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

The cuts, which were initially proposed by British Rail chief Dr Richard Beeching in 1963, ended passenger services on around a third of the rail network, closing more than 2,300 stations and up to 5,000 miles of track across the UK.

Now money has been awarded to help plans to reopen Meir Railway Station in Stoke-on-Trent, reinstate the Barrow Hill line between Sheffield and Chesterfield and reinstate the Ivanhoe Line between Burton and Leicester.

These measures will help keep passengers safe now, but we must also prepare for what comes next.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary

Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, said: "Re-opening the Ivanhoe line would be a major boost to North West Leicestershire’s economy, businesses and residents."It’s a project that we’ve long been supportive of and an injection of Government funding would be a huge step in the right direction in making this a financially viable project."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "These measures will help keep passengers safe now, but we must also prepare for what comes next. Strengthening vital road and railway connections, as well as encouraging cycling and walking, will be essential to our ambition to level up the country, secure a green legacy, and kickstart regional economies, as we build out of Covid-19 and look to the future."