Developing opportunities for people to travel around North Somerset by walking, wheeling and cycling is a priority for the council. Not only will they help the area move towards its carbon neutral target by 2030, but also help make low or no-cost journeys by active travel more attractive, encourage healthier lifestyles, drive local economic development and shape liveable neighbourhoods.
The consultation will open on Monday 9 January 2023 and run for six weeks until Monday 20 February. Each of the seven draft plans for 2023-30 is designed to help to deliver the North Somerset Active Travel Strategy’s vision to: ‘make walking and cycling the natural choice for a cleaner, healthier and more active North Somerset’.
The Active Travel Strategy was adopted by North Somerset Council’s Executive in July 2021. These plans set out a more detailed approach to seven different areas of active travel intervention. They include best practice examples of what the council is aiming for, and a list of scheme proposals and initiatives for each of the action plans.
The seven action plans are:
- Active Travel Network
- First and Last Mile (to our public transport network for longer trips)
- Liveable Neighbourhoods (making greener, safer, more attractive streets)
- Rural Lanes
- Safer Active Routes to School
- Transport Behaviour Change.
The council is keen to hear local people's views on each of these and has created a short questionnaire at: www.n-somerset.gov.uk/ataps2030.
Cllr Steve Hogg, executive member for transport and highways said: "We strive for residents and businesses to choose walking/wheeling and cycling as the natural and enjoyable choice for short and medium length journeys and for the first and last mile of longer journeys. We want people to be able to make these journeys on a safe, connected network, and for active travel to be the most attractive option wherever possible.
"Transport accounts for 40 per cent of carbon emissions in North Somerset so we have to act quickly and effectively to make active travel an attractive and viable option for many more people. The pandemic saw a huge increase in the number of people using bikes, with levels above the national average. We know there's demand, we've got some great active travel routes already, but we need to do more. I'd encourage people to get involved in the survey so we can reflect local people's ideas in their development."
The council is also keen to hear from residents, businesses, visitors and other stakeholders who have ideas for active travel improvements in local areas. Cllr Hogg added: "If people have ideas of how we could make active travel more attractive in their local community I'd encourage them to contact their town or parish council, or the North Somerset councillor for their ward area. All scheme proposals will be recorded and prioritised, helping to inform our long-term network planning."
Residents can also add their active travel improvements to an interactive map online at widenmypath.com. The delivery of all scheme proposals will be subject to engagement and securing necessary funding and resources. There is more information about the Active Travel Strategy on the council's website at: www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/parking-travel-roads/transport-travel/active-travel-fund/active-travel-strategy.