REGIONAL transport bosses have welcomed Government plans to get more people cycling and walking.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a series of measures – part of a £2bn initiative – including thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for everyone and bikes available on prescription.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority said the move would build on considerable work already carried out in the region to encourage people to walk and cycle.

Councillor Kim Groves, chairman of the combined authority’s transport committee, said: “We welcome the Government’s plan for future investment.

“This will help us build on the significant progress we’ve already made to enable more people to travel by bike and on foot – and support what we plan to do in the future through our £317 million Transforming Cities Fund, announced earlier this year.

“Emerging information is showing that we need to increase both cycling and walking trips by at least 2,000 per cent and 78 per cent respectively to achieve our aim of becoming a net-zero carbon economy by 2038.

“Long-term, sustainable and flexible Government funding is absolutely vital in helping us meet these ambitions, as well as building on our existing programme of schemes.

“Encouraging increasing numbers to consider cycling and walking is more important than ever as we look to address the health, transport and economic challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“From connecting people across our region, to reducing air pollution and congestion and combatting physical inactivity and obesity, we know that increasing the numbers of people choosing to travel by bike or on foot has a vital role to play in making West Yorkshire a great place to live, work and play.”

In partnership with other organisations, the combined authority has built new cycling and walking routes and improved existing infrastructure.

And it is spearheading initiatives including the provision of free adult cycle training, as well as supporting businesses, schools and grassroots projects.

During the pandemic it has been working with local authorities to deliver a package of emergency measures, including trial cycling and walking infrastructure, to help people move around safely.