Active travel strategy revealed to increase walking and cycling

North Somerset Councils active travel strategy is a 10-year plan that aims to increase opportunities

North Somerset Councils active travel strategy is a 10-year plan that aims to increase opportunities for walking and cycling. - Credit: Archant

Ambitious proposals to make walking and cycling a more natural transport choice for residents and visitors to North Somerset have moved a step closer.

North Somerset Council’s active travel strategy is a 10-year plan that aims to increase opportunities for walking and cycling, tackle the climate emergency, improve public health and boost the economy.

The draft strategy was revealed at the council’s executive meeting on October 21 where councillors voted for it to be taken to public consultation.

Proposals include creating active travel neighbourhoods in our existing communities, ensuring new developments make active travel the natural choice from the outset and prioritising walking and cycling over motor vehicle traffic wherever possible.

Through delivering walking and cycling networks and increasing publicity and awareness of these, the strategy aims to increase walking and cycling trips by 300 per cent by 2030.

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Cllr James Tonkin, who has responsibility for transport, said: “We are in a climate emergency and the way we move around our area has to change to protect our future. Since the Covid-19 crisis, we have seen a huge growth in walking and cycling, showing the suppressed demand for active travel.

“The crisis has also shown us the importance of underlying good health, both physically and mentally.

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“Active travel is a very easy way for people to achieve this, which many of us take up, given the opportunity.

“The way we build our infrastructure also has to shift. This strategy marks a fundamental refocus in our priorities that will see us putting walking and cycling at the centre of our transport planning for the next 10 years.

“We have outlined our proposals and ambitions, now we need the public to give us their feedback, so I urge everyone to get involved.”

Conversations about the strategy have already started with groups and organisations.

Public consultation is planned to launch on November 2 and run for six weeks, closing on December 14.

Following the results of this consultation a final version of the strategy will be produced and will be subject to council approval before it can be adopted.

Leader of the council, Don Davies, said: “We must use our cars less and encourage fairer use of the road space which council tax payers pay for regardless of whether they’re car owners or not.”

Cllr Bridget Petty added: “There are lots of promising things that the council wants to talk about regarding active travel.

“We do need to support our cyclists and walkers and we certainly know there are many benefits to people getting out of their cars, walking to their local shops and keeping healthy.

“If we continue to behave in the way we are each and every one of us without habitual car habits will not address climate change or the health risks that are a problem for the whole community.”

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