CITY bosses have secured a further £1.2m towards the cost of providing greener ways of travelling around Southampton during the Covid crisis and beyond.

The latest allocation of government money has come from the Active Travel Fund, launched in a bid to improve the UK's walking and cycling infrastructure.

It follows the award of £245,000 from the Emergency Active Travel Fund in May.

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A city council spokesman said: "The government has made clear its intention to back councils which are prepared to deliver meaningful plans that support walking and cycling.

"A national Department for Transport survey found that 65% of people across England support such measures in their local area.

"Similarly a recent Bike Life study conducted by Sustrans found that residents in Southampton are equally in support of a re-balancing of transport, with 71% in favour of more protected on-road cycle tracks - even where this means less room for other road traffic."

The council says it is determined to create safer places for walking and cycling.

One of its aims is to improve cycle links to Southampton General Hospital. Proposals include a cycle route from Lordshill to the hospital, cycle route improvements and crossing facilities on Winchester Road, and better cycle facilities at the junction of Hill Lane and Bellemoor Road.

The SCN6 route will be extended in a move that will also provide better cycle access to the Royal South Hants hospital.

Other ideas include a park-and-travel hub at Bitterne, enabling people to leave their vehicles outside the city centre and access other travel options.

The new funding is also set to support the expansion of Southampton’s School Streets programme, which sees the roads outside schools closed at drop-off and pick-up times to create a safer, greener and more attractive environment on the school run.

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The Department for Transport’s evaluation of early School Streets projects has shown traffic outside schools has reduced by an average by 68%.

Children cycling to school has increased by 51% and harmful vehicle pollution outside schools is said to be down by almost three-quarters.

Cllr Steve Leggett, the council's cabinet member for green city and place, said Southampton was one of only a handful of local transport authorities to secure maximum funding from the Active Travel Fund.

Cllr Leggett said the council was committed to transforming the way in which people travelled into and around Southampton.