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Nestrans secure half-a-million-pound boost for north-east walking and cycling projects

By David Porter

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Improvements to the Formartine and Buchan Way, the creation of a signed cycle network, and a much-needed bike recycling and reuse scheme, are among some of the north-east projects set to benefit from funding it has been announced.

Transport body Nestrans was successful in bidding for £500,000 from the Scottish Government’s Regional Transport Partnership Active Travel Grant and will share the funding among five different projects across the region.

Vice-chair of Nestrans, Dr Maggie Bochel said, “This was an ambitious bid to support a range of important and valuable projects.

“The funding will be used to help us invest in our paths to ensure that they are well-maintained, accessible, and enticing places for walking and cycling.

"It will allow us to support more people to take up cycling with schemes for affordable bikes and repairs, as well as providing access to essential cycle training to instil confidence.

"We look forward to working with our partners to deliver these over the next year.”

The five projects benefiting from the Scottish Government's Active Travel Grant are as follows -

North East Scotland Bike Recycling/Reuse Scheme - This is an exciting development for the area and will create a much-needed and long-overdue regional hub for bike recycling, repair, and reuse and will provide discounted and affordable bikes, as well as a referral scheme for children aged four-16 who otherwise may not be able to own their own bike.

The project will be delivered in partnership with both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Councils, alongside Community Interest Companies and local charities.

As well as making bike ownership accessible, it helps the circular economy, reducing the needless waste of unwanted bikes going to landfill.

The Share Space pilot was undertaken at Woodhead of Fyvie last year.
The Share Space pilot was undertaken at Woodhead of Fyvie last year.

Quiet Road Cycle Signing – ‘The North East Cycle Network’ - This project builds on a successful Nestrans’ pilot in Aberdeenshire last summer.

It will support the creation of a permanent signed network across the north-east, akin to the National Cycle Network, to enable, encourage and support more people to consider travelling sustainably between the towns, villages, and communities throughout the region.

Feedback from last year’s pilot showed how such a network could boost cycling tourism in the area, with many using the network to visit, spend or staycation in communities along the routes.

Aberdeenshire Core Path Network Survey - With approximately 715km of non-road core paths across Aberdeenshire, the funding will support a detailed survey of the local authority's ‘Core Path Network’ to assist in ensuring that the network can be brought up to high useable standard in its entirety.

Feedback from the survey will highlight any issues such as drainage problems, overgrown vegetation, surfacing or health and safety concerns which require to be addressed to make these paths more attractive for users. It will also highlight improvements to signage, seating, and information boards.

The work will allow a greater accessibility to the path network and instil greater confidence in users.

Bridge Repair/Replacement Works on the Formartine and Buchan Way - As part of the National Cycle Network Route 1 and one of Scotland’s Great Trails, this historic route is well used for active travel on a recreational and commuter basis.

In carrying out a review of the route, around 50 bridges were identified as needing attention.

The funding will support replacement bridges as part of a wider rolling programme of replacement and repair.

This builds on work in recent years that has seen ten replacement bridges fabricated, with five of these already installed on the Way.

Provision of Adult Cycle Training - This project will offer free bicycle training for adults across the whole of the north east.

Whether beginner or refresher, the courses available will offer small group or one-to-one training at convenient times and locations across the region, as well as access to bikes and equipment if needed.

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