LONG-awaited improvements to a section of canal towpath can at last go ahead following the award of £1 million in funding.

Campaigners have been pressing for years for a desperately-needed upgrade to the stretch of Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath between Silsden and Kildwick.

Ruts, bumps and mud make the route a nightmare to negotiate.

Now an improvement scheme – including resurfacing, width increases, the cutting back of vegetation and installation of measures to prevent vehicular access – has been included in the Department for Transport’s latest Active Travel Fund cash awards.

In total, £5.5m will be invested across West Yorkshire to improve walking and cycling routes.

The region's mayor, Tracy Brabin, says: "This investment is a great vote of confidence in our region and will allow us to build on improvements already made."

The towpath scheme is welcomed by Keighley MP Robbie Moore.

He says: "Living in Silsden, I know just how important these upgrades are, and this is a project I've been pushing for since first being elected – alongside brilliant organisations like the Canal and River Trust.

"The Government’s million pound funding announcement is fantastic news for all who like to get out and about and enjoy our fantastic Yorkshire countryside, helping to encourage more cycling and walking along our part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath and securing the route long into the future.

"The funds have been awarded by the Government to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which will oversee the improvement works – it’s crucial it now gets on with it."

The project is also welcomed by Keighley's Labour parliamentary candidate John Grogan, who backed the campaign for improvements during his time as MP between 2017-19.

He says: "After years of campaigning by many different individuals and organisations, it is great that this section of towpath is to be upgraded at last for the benefit of walkers, cyclists and runners.

"It really has been an example of the wisdom of the old adages ‘try, try and try again' and 'if at first you don’t succeed'.

"I understand that the two outstanding issues associated with the project for some years have been the narrowness of the towpath and the quality of the material which will need to be used in the Silsden Conservation Area. Good old fashioned compromises on both have now been reached, allowing the green light to be given to the project."