Fife Council has been awarded nearly £2.5m from Sustrans Scotland for temporary walking and cycling routes.

The Spaces for People initiative is part of a £30m package from the Scottish Government to enable physical distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.

Councils were allowed to bid for money and Fife’s 100 suggestions have been approved for funding to the tune of £2,420,000, although it’s not yet been revealed where the cash will be spent.

However, Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell said Fife must use cycling funds wisely if traffic jams and unsafe roads are to be avoided as lockdown lifts.

The Mid-Scotland and Fife politician urged the local authority to put public safety, air quality and the economy first by spending the funds in a way which keeps people moving.

He said: “I welcome the fact that Fife Council has applied for and been granted £2.4m to make our streets safer.

"This funding can make a real difference here, but only if it is invested wisely.

“If people avoid public transport in the near future, there is a real danger our streets will be clogged up with traffic jams, causing dangerous levels of pollution and preventing anyone getting anywhere.

“New infrastructure must be visible and useful, not tokenistic, such as on main arterial routes which people will need when they start to go back to work. It also needs to be given the option to become permanent once the benefits become clear.

“Roads exist to serve people, not just cars, and there is some incredible work being done in France, Italy and across Europe to redesign them to keep people moving.

"I urge Fife Council to ignore the retrograde naysayers who are obsessed with 1960s-style town planning and look instead to the needs of citizens.”

The council's Allan Maclean said: “Around 100 suggestions have been approved by Sustrans and can consequently be advanced to the next stage.

“This involves further investigation, for example: survey work, design progress and public engagement.

“The level of public engagement will depend on the nature of the work, for example, increasing pedestrian space locally would most likely focus on the adjacent properties, whilst more major work would require a greater dialogue with local communities.”

Transport minister Michael Matheson said: “I’m very encouraged by the demand for Spaces for People funding that we’ve seen right across Scotland and I’m grateful to Sustrans Scotland for their support.

“From the outset, this programme was all about pace, urgency and protecting public health – creating space to enable people to walk, cycle and wheel whilst physically distancing.

"At the same time, however, it has provided an opportunity to reimagine and indeed experience our towns and cities as places not dominated by cars but by people.

“The steps local authorities have taken in our towns and cities have been ambitious and widely welcomed – and I’m confident will re-energise demand for permanent active travel infrastructure as we think collectively about Scotland’s green recovery.”

He added: "It’s hoped that facilitating temporary active travel infrastructure, supporting a rapid increase in cycling rates and creating space on pavements, will also support the conditions to encourage greater rates of walking, wheeling and cycling in the future."