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Could parts of Leeds become a ‘mini Holland’?

By Richard Beecham, local democracy reporter

Can the streets of Leeds learn something from The Netherlands?

As part of the latest round of transport funding for councils, the Government invited areas to become part of a series of national pilots known as “mini-Hollands”, in which Dutch-style cycling infrastructure is built on some of the main roads around districts.

The idea has already been piloted in three London boroughs, and it has now been revealed that Leeds, along with Bradford and Calderdale, have been given money to look into how they can introduce a similar scheme.

A report by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) officers will be discussed by regional councillors next week.

It stated: “Whilst the mini-Holland competition results are yet to be announced, all three districts were successful in negotiating two rounds of sifting and have now been granted money to undertake a feasibility study to develop their ideas around the social prescribing pilot and re-submit it for the final competition.

“This success has been built both on the high-quality applications submitted by the three districts and also due to West Yorkshire’s established success and award-winning, nationally recognised position as a leader in the field of behaviour change around active
travel.”

According to the DfT website, the London scheme aimed: “to make these boroughs as cycle-friendly as their Dutch equivalents – where more than 50% of journeys are made by cycle in some cities.”

It added: “Reducing car dependency will reduce pollution, traffic danger and congestion. Increased active travel will also improve resident’s health and quality of life.”

The scheme has already seen Waltham Forest, Enfield and Kingston councils each given £30m by government to introduce the scheme, which included measures to redesign town centres with segregated cycle paths as well as measures to improve pedestrian journeys.

The scheme will be discussed by WYCA’s Transport Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, March 10.

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