DORSET Council has been awarded £438,000 from the Department for Transport to improve walking and cycling routes across the county.

The government grant is part of the Active Travel Fund, which is being used to support programmes to reduce traffic in towns and cities across the country.

Earlier in the year the council was awarded £128,000 as part of the Emergency Active Travel Fund, together with further support from the Reopening High Streets Fund.

The money was used on a host of travel schemes across Dorset, including widening footpaths and parking spaces in Swanage, implementing a part time closure of Shaftesbury High Street, widening footways in Blandford and in Wimborne.

Exactly how the latest grant will be used is yet to be fully determined, but residents across Dorset took part in a summer of surveys.

Cllr Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment at Dorset Council, said: "Over the summer months, we heard ideas about where improvements could be made to support more walking and cycling.

"Thank you to the 1,000 plus residents from across the county that responded.

"We reviewed all the ideas. We then spoke with local members and stakeholders, such as town councils, on the ideas that could be progressed relatively quickly following a consultation period.

"We then analysed those ideas in more detail and initial feasibility design work was completed."

County officials say that from this evidence– and after discussion with other key stakeholders – Dorset Council has identified a shortlist of 'high priority projects which can be implemented quickly and will deliver the biggest impact.'

Residents will be asked for their views on these ideas in a consultation which will launch shortly.

The three main responses to the summer survey, which attracted 899 comments in total, was provision for cycling (434 comments), reduced speed of traffic (396 comments) and improved provision for walking (320 comments).