Former Lib Dem leader calls for Strawberry Line trail extension
PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 August 2019
Sir Vince Cable, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has backed plans to extend The Strawberry Line.
Sir Vince, who was succeeded as head of the party by Jo Swinson in July after stepping down, visited the defunct railway on July 17 to throw his weight behind proposals for an extension to the path - which is popular with cyclists and walkers.
The line connects Yatton to Cheddar, but the Strawberry Line Association (SLA) hopes to one day see it stretch from Clevedon to Shepton Mallet.
A petition for the extension of the line has garnered more than 7,000 signatures, and Sir Vince believes better cycling routes will play a pivotal role in making transport more sustainable amid climate change concerns.
The long-serving politician was given a two-wheeled tour by David Parkin and Richard Jones of the SLA, showcasing the project's progress.
They were joined by members of North Somerset, Sedgemoor, Mendip, and Somerset councils to present a united front backing the plans.
Sir Vince said: "I applaud the work of local cycle champions in getting these plans on track.
"The Liberal Democrats wants cycle use to account for 10 per cent of journeys by 2025.
"To do this we must implement the Get Britain Cycling report by creating a cycling budget of at least £10 per person per year, improving routes available and user safety."
Campaigners believe the extension would benefit both commuters and the environment.
North Somerset Council has approved plans to begin extending the Strawberry Line to Clevedon with new cycle paths in Yatton and Kingston Seymour.
Cllr Huw James, North Somerset Liberal Democrats transport spokesman, echoed Sir Vince's comments.
He said: "Cycle routes are essential for connecting rural communities, and in particular, they empower young people through increased connectivity, especially while rural bus services are being eradicated.
"I am proud North Somerset Council has made real progress getting this project moving, and I look forward to other Somerset councils following suit."
For more details on the project, visit www.thestrawberryline.org.uk