Walking, wheeling and cycling is set to be safer and easier in Renfrewshire following the award of more than £2million in funding from the Scottish Government.

Four projects will receive investment totalling £2,067,000 from the Active Travel Transformation Fund 2023-24 which aims to create high-quality active travel infrastructure that will support people to make the switch to more sustainable transport methods and reduce emissions.

The Paisley to Renfrew active travel route has received funding to support its completion as it creates a direct active travel link between the two towns for the first time in decades, and a significant amount of work has already been carried out on the 5km route connecting Paisley Gilmour Street to the Renfrew Ferry via the former railway line.

Another project provisionally awarded funding is the Gallowhill Link, which will see an underpass created using the disused railway line to provide a safe crossing of Renfrew Road. It will connect Gallowhill Road into the Paisley to Renfrew route and is part of a series of transport improvements connecting communities and bolstering business growth between Paisley town centre and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS).

Communities in Bishopton and Erskine will benefit from enhanced active travel infrastructure as a shared walking and cycle route from Inchinnan Drive, along Barnsford Road to the St James Interchange, will connect the communities of Bishopton and Erskine to the key employment sites of Inchinnan Business Park, Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) and Glasgow Airport.

In addition, the Hawkhead Road Estate to Seedhill Road active travel link will create a shared cycle and pedestrian path that will link the housing development with Hawkhead Train Station and the local primary and secondary schools.

Councillor Michelle Campbell, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “This is a fantastic amount of money coming into Renfrewshire to improve our active travel routes across the area as we continue to provide safe, accessible ways for people to walk, run, wheel or cycle, and encourage more people to consider leaving the car for their journey. The environmental and health benefits both physically and mentally are significant.

“The Paisley to Renfrew route will connect the two towns in this way for the first time in decades and the disused railway line being brought back into use to link the route to Gallowhill is a great addition to the overall impact it will have.

“Being from the area, I know how big a difference the shared route from the Inchinnan Drive roundabout to the Airport will make and the new route at Hawkhead will be of huge benefit to residents in the area.

“As we tackle the climate emergency, we need to provide people with the best possible infrastructure if we are going to make the modal shift away from car use and this significant investment in another big step in our commitment to providing this for people in Renfrewshire.”

The Scottish Government has allocated £20 million as part of its active travel funding for 2023/24 to enhance walking, wheeling and cycling for everyday transportation and the Active Travel Transformation Fund directly provides investment to local authorities to support the implementation of ambitious active travel infrastructure projects throughout Scotland.

The Scottish Government has committed to investing at least £320 million or 10% of the transport budget to active travel by 2024/25, reaffirming its dedication to sustainable and eco-friendly transportation options.

Minister for Active Travel Patrick Harvie said: “I’m pleased this £2 million award to Renfrewshire Council will help realise their ambition for better paths and crossings for walking, wheeling and cycling. The Council’s leadership will make it easier for people to choose active travel for shorter everyday journeys.

“This funding is part of our new Active Travel Transformation Fund and represents a new direct partnership with local authorities to do the work needed for communities on a wider scale and in shorter timescales.

“For our health, wellbeing and environment, we’re investing record amounts in Active Travel this year and have committed to investing £320 million, or 10% of the total transport budget, on active travel in 2024-25.

Significant works have already taken place on the Paisley to Renfrew cycle route and work is aimed for completion in early 2024. Hawkhead is aimed for completion by the end of 2023 and the works on the Inchinnan, Hawkhead and Gallowhill projects are due to begin in early 2024.