Reading will get more than £1 million of funding for new cycle lanes in the town as part of plans to encourage more active travel such as cycling and walking.

But the council’s lead member for Environment, Planning and Transport has slammed the government for “micro-managing”, after the Department for Transport (DfT) said councils must explain how they plan to consult residents.

The funding follows an initial award of more than £200,000 of emergency funds earlier this year, which led to the creation of eight temporary schemes focused on helping with Covid social distancing.

One of these schemes has since been scrapped and another remains incomplete.

READ MORE: One of Reading’s active travel cycle schemes remains incomplete six months on

The council has now been awarded a further £1,179,000 to spend on permanent improvements to streets and neighbourhoods.

Cllr Page said:  “It is welcome news that the £1.18 million is still available to the council but it would appear that the guidance contains a gamut of obstacles and caveats that have to be surmounted.”

While the initial funding earlier this year was for temporary schemes (which could later become permanent) and involved no consultation – under instruction from the government – the DfT now wants councils to not only consult residents but tell them first how it plans to do so.

Cllr Page said: “We have never done this before.

“First time around, they told us not to bother. Rather than saying we should consult in advance this time around, they want to see how we intend on doing it.

“This is a level of micromanaging which is farcical. It is supreme b******s.

“They cannot micro-manage 700-800 schemes across the country. ”

RBC applied for £4 million of funding for five schemes back in June, hoping to get more than the £1.18 million figure the government provisionally allocated the town, but has not received any extra funding.

Initially, the council said £1.18 million would only cover two out of the five schemes proposed: Southampton Street/Oracle Roundabout and Bath Road/Castle Hill.

But Cllr Page said the council will now reconsider the priority of the five schemes, as it has been five months since the bid was submitted and priorities may have changed.

READ HERE for more details on the five schemes

Additionally, Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has been awarded 576,000.

Reading East MP Matt Rodda said the funds will help the two councils to “make a real difference for many residents in Reading and Woodley by helping to provide more safe dedicated cycling routes”.

He added: “A third of all car journeys in England are less than a mile and this funding will help encourage more people to cycle.

“More cycling will get cars off the road, reducing congestion and pollution.”