LOCAL plans for sustainable travel have got the green light as Gloucestershire County Council is awarded £920,000 from the Department for Transport.

The money was awarded to Gloucestershire this week after the county council submitted its successful ‘Thinktravel 2015 and Beyond’ bid demonstrating how it would boost economic growth, reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and encourage higher levels of cycling and walking to improve public health.

An additional local contribution of £574,845 means a total of £1,494,845 will be invested to bring environmental, health and economic benefits to the local community. The local contribution is provided by several local authorities and other organisations that have provided valuable support for the bid.

The county council was previously awarded £4.9 million by the Department for Transport in June 2012 which has been funding ‘Thinktravel’ initiatives over the last three years. The new funds announced this week offer a welcome boost and means additional activity can now take place until 2016 and beyond.

Thinktravel initiatives help raise awareness of travel choices and promote alternatives to car use for short distance trips.

The funding will allow more active travel to be promoted, such as walking and cycling, with continued help for businesses who support their employees to travel in a greener way for their commuting and business journeys.

This helps more people by reducing congestion and cutting carbon emissions.

The funding will also support travel choices for spectators visiting the Rugby World Cup in 2015 by promoting the use of bus and rail stations in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Lydney.

The winning bid also includes a Bike Hire Scheme and the implementation of bike vouchers with Job Centre Plus to allow access to employment by bike to those who cannot take a job for transport reasons.

This funding compliments the council’s Active Together grants scheme which is open to community groups such as sports clubs, scout groups, parish and town councils and schools who want to increase their sport and physical activity.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, Cabinet member for planning and infrastructure said, “I'm delighted to see this funding made available to us in Gloucestershire and I’d like to thank our partners including local councils and other county organisations for the contribution they have made.

“As we ask more people to choose travel that cuts congestion and carbon, this funding will make that choice easier for people living and working in the county, as well as those who visit us.”

To find out how you can travel more sustainably in Gloucestershire visit http://thinktravel.info More information about ’Thinktravel 2015 and Beyond’ can be found at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/extra/116732