Wednesday, 2 March 2022
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
76. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of schools that have benefited from the safe routes to schools programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11965/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 76 and 77 together.
In March 2021, I was delighted to launch the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programme which will support Active Travel infrastructure for selected schools around the country. The Programme aims to support walking, scooting and cycling to primary and post-primary schools and to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities. This will help alleviate congestion at school gates and increase the number of students who walk or cycle to school by providing the necessary infrastructure.
All schools were eligible to apply to the Programme and information was circulated from the Departments of Education and Transport to schools nationwide. By the deadline of 16thApril 2021, 931 applications had been received from schools in every county in Ireland. 170 schools were notified on 21stJune that they have been selected for inclusion in the first round of the SRTS Programme
€15m has been allocated for projects at the 170 schools included in Round One. The subsequent schools will be engaged with on a rolling basis in each local authority area. This funding is being provided from the €1.8 billion funding earmarked in the Programme for Government to support sustainable transport.
It is important to note that all Active Travel funding looks to improve links to schools where possible, not only the Safe Routes to School Programme. The required investment at each school will be dependent on the changes required in each particular case. As most interventions at/near applicable schools will take time to implement, particularly if they require planning permission, the €15m budget will extend beyond 2022. The budget for cycle parking element of SRTS in 2022 will be €3m.
The schools selected were assessed against a range of criteria including school type, location and the school’s commitment to sustainable travel.
Schools that have applied this year which have not been included in the first round of funding will not be required to reapply as they will come into the Programme on a rolling basis.