WIRRAL is to get a multi-million pound share of a massive Department of Transport cash injection to bolster public transport systems across Merseyside.

New Wirral schemes in phase two of the Merseyside local transport plan include electrification of the rail line between Bidston and Wrexham; new and improved routes for cyclists in district centres and along Wirral way towards Heswall and special community-led transport schemes, including mini-bus services where public transport is unavailable.

Bus priority schemes will continue along with an extension of park and ride schemes at all rail stations.

David Green, Wirral's Director of Technical Services said, "Wirral has seen some significant improvements in local transport over the last few years. Working with TravelWise (the campaign to encourage the use of public transport, walking, cycling and using cars wisely) and through delivery of the second LTP we hope to continue this trend.

"This next stage of funding will help us to continue works to reduce congestion, increase road safety and provide improvements to make public transport, cycling and walking more acceptable, especially for short journeys. We need to encourage people to use their cars less to make sure Wirral's roads do not get grid-locked."

The Merseyside LTP partnership has been awarded more than £36.5 million by the Department for Transport for schemes to be carried out in the next financial year - an increase of more than £3m.

The Department described the Merseyside plan as "excellent" - the highest possible assessment. Delivery of the first 2001-2006 Merseyside LTP was also described as "excellent". Merseyside is the only metropolitan area in the country to achieve this double success.

Neil Scales, chairman of the LTP partnership and chief executive and director general of Merseytravel, said: "Merseyside has been recognised with Centre of Excellence status for transport planning and accessibility. This increased settlement is a massive vote of confidence by the Government in our ability to deliver an integrated public transport system that is accessible to all - and one of the finest systems in the country."

The LTP partnership consists of Merseytravel and the local authorities of Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral. It provides the transport framework essential to the regeneration of Merseyside.

The level of economic growth taking place across Merseyside has made it imperative that the transport network connects people to jobs, training and education, and allows goods to reach their destination efficiently.

Key achievements in Wirral under the first LTP included: Nearly 30km of cycle routes including the improvements to the Wirral Way between Thurstaston and West Kirby, which has helped to attract an estimated 7,500 extra users per year.

Over 50 road schemes including junction improvements at Thornton Common Road/Clatterbridge Road, Arrowe Park and Leasowe Road/Gardenside.

Resurfacing of approximately 100 km of carriageway and over 35km of footway and strengthening of 11 bridge structures to improve the Borough's existing highway assets.

Installation of nearly twenty 20mph zones to improve the quality of life for residents.

Installation of electronic message signs to inform drivers of disruption across the docks between Birkenhead and Wallasey to reduce congestion.