New cycling infrastructure and en route training for Newry

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Newry, Morne and Down Council agreed at last night’s October 11 meeting of business, regeneration and tourism to endorse a business case for a £ 50,000 initiative that would see bicycle shelters placed throughout the district as well as an extension of the current Active Travel Program which includes bicycle training for schoolchildren.

The Council recently tasked Sustrans with carrying out an active 10-year travel master plan for the Newry, Morne and Down area. We understand that a connecting cycle path through the town of Newry connecting the Newry Canal towpath to the Carlingford Lough Greenway is also under discussion.

Last night’s proposal would see two bicycle shelters / stands in Newry, two in Downpatrick and one shelter / stand in three villages or towns in each constituency.

The project would be 100% funded by the Ministry of Infrastructure and is subject to rolling funding under the Covid-19 recovery revitalization program.

Board Chair Councilor Cathy Mason and Sustrans NI Principal Caroline Bloomfield recently visited St Patrick’s Legamaddy Elementary School, Downpatrick, to attend the school cycle training session hosted by Sustrans NI.

Councilor Mason said, “I am delighted that the Council’s Sustainability Section has been able to secure funding to provide such valuable training to schools. The pandemic has highlighted the importance we all place on the great outdoors and staying active. Being able to cycle competently and safely is crucial and training like this, provided by Sustrans, provides the skills and knowledge to do so.

Cllr Mason continued, “St Patrick’s Elementary School places great importance on encouraging students to be active. It was great to experience the excitement of the seven elementary students and their teacher Bronagh Reid as they took part in the cycling training session today.

The Council’s active travel program is currently funded by the Ministry of Infrastructure as well as the Ministry of Communities, the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the Council as part of the recovery revitalization program COVID-19. St Patrick’s Elementary School was one of the lucky schools in the district to receive a free Level 1 training session under the Active Travel Program.

Sustrans Director for Northern Ireland Caroline Bloomfield said: “We are delighted to provide cycle skills training for students at St Patrick’s Primary School, Legamaddy. Considering the health and environmental benefits of cycling, it’s great to work with Newry, Morne and Down District Council to develop a culture of active travel in the area. We recently completed an active 10-year travel master plan for the board which will hopefully translate into better infrastructure for more people to walk and cycle in the community.


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