COUNCIL chiefs in East Renfrewshire are to spend £100,000 on measures to make it safer for residents to ditch the car and cycle or walk on essential journeys.

The six-figure sum is the Barrhead area’s share of a £30million payout from the Scottish Government that is being split between 31 councils across the country to pay for pop-up bike lanes and other projects that will help people practice safe physical distancing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the Spaces for People programme, residents will be asked to say where the money can be best spent so they can avoid unnecessary car journeys.

In partnership with the Sustrans charity, the public can have their say on Commonplace – an online community consultation platform where they can help to identify locations that may need measures to help people get about safely.

The council will also use the platform to share information about proposed temporary measures planned in the area and to receive feedback as plans progress.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, East Renfrewshire’s environment convener, told the Barrhead News: “This challenging time we are all experiencing makes us thankful for the great parks and public spaces we have here in East Renfrewshire but, as we see more people take to our streets and leave the car at home, it has highlighted areas where improved space for social distancing is needed.

“The feedback gathered will help protect public health, support physical distancing and mitigate a possible second wave of the outbreak.

“I would encourage anyone who can to let us know what they think and help our team put in place effective measures.”

Karen McGregor, director of Sustrans Scotland, said it was clear that people wanted to “do the right thing” during the coronavirus pandemic.

She added: “They want to look after their physical and mental health. They also want to make sure they are keeping to physical distancing guidelines while still being safe on our streets.

“Providing funding support to East Renfrewshire Council through our Spaces for People programme will make it easier and safer for people to travel for essential travel and exercise.”