Babergh and Mid Suffolk commit to action plan to get people cycling and walking
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An action plan is to be created to encourage sustainable transport in two Suffolk districts, including a costed list of priority routes.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk agreed to form a joint sustainable travel action plan at their full council meetings this week, in an attempt to continue the shift towards more cycling caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
Councillors said they hoped the plan, which will be reassessed every three years, will help encourage more people on to their bikes or walking, as well as promote public transport instead of cars.
MORE: County council unveils 148 priority routes in Suffolk for cycle routesAs part of that work, a fully-costed list of proposed priority cycle routes is to be drawn up, sustainable transport will become an automatic consideration for future planning applications and a review of the way developer contributions can be distributed will be carried out to ensure cycle routes get a good enough share.
A motion presented to both councils was approved.
Councillor Leigh Jamieson at Babergh, who put forward the original motion, said: “We need to take our active travel responsibilities seriously,” and added that it would “ensure there is a permanent shift in the number of people choosing to cycle or walk”.
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Dr Dan Pratt from Mid Suffolk said: “The significance in this modal shift in transport must not be underrated” and added: “It’s not about saying people should never use a car, there will be times when it is more appropriate.
“It’s about improving people’s quality of life through enabling use of this beautiful countryside and for the benefit of everyone’s health.”
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Councillors said it would help address carbon levels and pollution from vehicles, boost health and wellbeing for people cycling or walking, and reduce congestion in key towns like Hadleigh and Sudbury.
Mid Suffolk cabinet member for environment Jessica Fleming said coronavirus had “shaken people’s confidence in public transport so much will need to be done to overcome this in future”.
The councils will work alongside Suffolk County Council on the plan.
The county council itself had formed a cycling task group last year which earlier this year established a priority list of 148 routes countywide for cycling improvements.
Councillors said it was crucial those measures were available in rural areas as well as the bigger towns.