Somerset County Council has unveiled plans for major new safe cycling and walking routes in the county to help create greener, healthier, and more active streets.
The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) for Yeovil and Taunton are the first to be published – they will be followed by plans for Bridgwater and Frome and funding has been netted to draw up plans for three other towns soon. These are focused, 10-year plans for developing a cycle and walking network within each local area.
The aim is to secure funding over the next decade for significant new safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians across all Somerset’s towns.
The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans for Yeovil and Taunton can be accessed here: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roads-and-transport-local-cycling-and-walking-infrastructure-plans-lcwips/.
These are evolving plans which will continue to develop over time, with the views and suggestions from the public central to the process.
Having a plan in place is key to unlocking Government funding to build the infrastructure and enable people in Somerset to choose to walk or cycle to work, school, the shops, or for other short trips for the benefit of people’s health and the environment.
Expanding the active travel network is an essential part of Somerset’s Climate Emergency Strategy – agreed by all Somerset councils to steer the county towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We have a great track record for securing investment from Government and delivering infrastructure, and these plans are a vital part of ensuring we give people in Somerset the choice to use their cars less, which in turn cuts congestion and pollution in our towns.
“We have worked closely with our District Council partners and local cycling groups to develop these plans and we will continue to do so as we move forward. But they are by no means the finished article – we need the public to get involved and help us to ensure we build infrastructure that works well for everyone.”
Somerset County Council has netted £80,000 in funding to draft three further plans for market towns in Somerset. District and Town Councils will be putting forward nominations for these.
Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for public health, said: ”Encouraging people to cycle and walk more is a great way to support health and wellbeing. It’s vital for the health of our environment and our communities – it offers the potential for greener, healthier streets for all.
“Choosing to leave your car at home is better for you and the planet – we all have a role to play in tackling climate change, and we can help to look after our health at the same time.”
The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans have been developed in partnership with Taunton Area Cycling Campaign (TACC) and Bridgwater Area Cycling Campaign (BACC), alongside the District and Parish and Town Councils.
In addition to the LCWIP for Bridgwater, which will be published soon, Frome Town Council has led on developing a plan for Frome, aided by Somerset County Council’s Climate Change Fund.
Alongside these, Mendip District Council has commissioned an LCWIP for Mendip which is in development and will be supported by Somerset County Council.
Somerset County Council has now launched a Commonplace website where the public can comment on plans for sustainable transport in the county – you can also find the Local Cycling and Walking Plans here: Have Your Say Today – Somerset Sustainable Transport – Commonplace