More than half of Active Travel funding allocated to rural local authorities in 2021 was unspent by the end of the year.

2021 saw the greatest level of expenditure on Active Travel in the history of the State, with €72.8 million announced for 19 local authorities.

The money was allocated to facilitate the construction of 340 cycling and walking projects.

However, recent figures from the National Transport Authority show that more than half - 56% - was unspent by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, 37% of the funding given to local authorities in the Greater Dublin Area and regional cities was also not spent at the end of 2021.

Over €240m was allocated to local authorities in the Greater Dublin Area and regional cities.

While these authorities have received Active Travel Funding before, 2021 saw a significant increase in their allocations.

By the end of the year, 37% or €88m of their funding was left over.

Regarding the spend by rural local authorities, the NTA said that ideally a higher proportion would have been spent last year, but it did not come as a surprise that this did not happen, and it does not mean that the projects were halted.

Overall, it said that authorities across the country were tasked with a significant expansion of their capacity and were also dealing with a challenging employment market as well as Covid-19 restrictions.

However there has been some criticism of the spending figures.

Green Party Senator Róisín Garvey said that she has suspected for some time that spending last year was below original allocations.

Senator Garvey said that "there really is no excuse now. They have the money, and they have the staff and it's time to get it going".