LOCAL volunteer-run cycle network improvement group Cycle Chippenham has been given a helping hand with its mission to improve the town’s cycling infrastructure.

The group has been given a £5,000 grant from one of Wiltshire’s largest not-for-profit solar energy enterprises, Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy Ltd.

The grant will be put towards projects that make cycling more inclusive, with the first being to remove chicane barriers from the town’s cycleways.

These barriers can prevent people from using the cycleways, such as disabled people, those riding cargo cycles, or cycles with trailers.

As such, some may be illegal under the Equality Act 2010, and the latest cycle infrastructure design guidance from the government states they should not be used.

The project has been led by Cycle Chippenham and jointly funded by Wiltshire Council’s Chippenham Area Board and Chippenham Local Highways and Footways Improvement Group, Chippenham Town Council and the Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy Fund.

It is anticipated that the remainder of the group’s £5,000 payment will be used for other schemes, including provision of additional CCTV.

Dr Nick Murry, chair of Cycle Chippenham, said: “We’re grateful to Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy and our other funding partners for their support for this important accessibility project, which will contribute to reducing transport emissions in Wiltshire.”

Jon Bateman, chair of WWCE Community Fund, added: “This is a great example of collaboration between different stakeholders, working together to make cycling in Chippenham more accessible and supporting WWCE's aims of reducing carbon and promoting wildlife.

“This is the third group to benefit from a grant from the WWCE Community Fund in recent months, and it’s fantastic to see surplus funds generated by local renewable energy projects being put to good use by worthwhile causes across the region.”

Julian Barlow, chair of WWCE and trustee of WWT which administers the Community Fund, said: “Delivering community benefits is a core part of WWCE’s mission, so I’m pleased to see another project getting off the ground as a result of our support.

“The fund has already helped ensure the continuation of a host of initiatives engaged in the conservation of local wildlife, climate change mitigation, and tackling fuel poverty and I look forward to being able to do more good in the future.”

A panel meets four times a year to review WWCE Community Fund applications and allocate grants. To find out more, or to apply click here