Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced £20 million for Blue Green project delivery in 2021/22.
The fund will continue to act as a catalyst for changes in the way we live and travel and to deliver positive outcomes to improve the lives of citizens.
Commenting generally about the Blue/Green Fund the Minister said:
“A wide range of work was undertaken last year with transformation beginning in how we work together to deliver better for citizens. Work will continue this year and we will build momentum for the changes our society needs when it comes to having greener, cleaner and better infrastructure. This change requires continued partnership working with local government and local people to ensure that our places are shaped by and for local citizens.”
“At the heart of this fund will also be £11 million of active travel projects across Northern Ireland to get schemes on the ground, to ensure active travel is a safer and more attractive option for people getting around. I have wanted to see these changes realised since coming to office, but with the added challenge of Covid not enough has been done. We now need to change that. That is why I am investing and focusing my team on delivery, getting projects on the ground and making sure active travel becomes an option for many more families across the North.
“This year I am investing more in the active travel agenda than I did last year or indeed by anyone in previous years. As part of the Covid recovery, we have all seen the change that is happening with more and more people wanting to walk, wheel and cycle safely and I want to support people to do that. To deliver on that I am taking forward a wide-range of proposals including provision of cycle-paths, footpaths, controlled crossings, and place-making schemes and to ensure an efficient and effective roll-out of this on the ground, I have created a range of new posts across my four Roads Divisions. Building a delivery team is key to transforming our communities.
“In addition, collaboration with local councils, businesses and local people will continue at pace and there is further investment planned by councils in greenways and place-making schemes. I have already confirmed that I will provide £2.5 million to support the development of greenways by Councils in 2021/22 which is on top of the £11 million of active travel schemes being taken forward directly by my Department.
“I know there is much more to be done but this is now our opportunity to make progress and I am listening to the changes that people want. Active travel is very much needed not only for health and well-being but also as a significant action in our response to climate change.”