New volunteers needed for Suffolk’s quiet lanes

A quiet lane in Capel St Andrew. Picture: Contributed

A quiet lane in Capel St Andrew. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

15 lanes and 7 parishes were part of the original project in 2013.

Volunteers are being sought to help the popular Quiet Lanes project continue.

Quiet Lanes were conceived as a way of helping people to enjoy Suffolk’s more rural carriageways whilst still allowing for different types of traffic to use the roads.

The project ran between 2013 and 2014 on 15 lanes across seven parishes in Suffolk.

This included roads like Mill Lane in Butley and Gulpher Road in Felixstowe.

It was originally managed by the Suffolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in conjunction with Suffolk County Council highways and aimed to encourage large, noisy traffic to use other routes, where possible.

Pedestrians and cyclists would then be able to make the most of the Suffolk countryside whilst traffic would respect each other.

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Neil Winship was the chairman of the pilot Quiet Lanes group when it began. He said that for him, the health benefits are the most important aspect of the project, especially for older people.

“The older we get the more we should do things,” he said.

“I have a duty to keep myself fit in mind and body.”

As well as special signs marking the lanes, specialist electronic equipment was used to collect data on the types of traffic and whether this was changing.

Data from the pilot was mixed as to whether it had changed traffic on the roads but it was noted that attitudes may take longer to change.

Today Neil continues to monitor the data.

He says that since the pilot project ended demand has grown for new lanes to be set up.

However, the cost and logistics of doing so remains a problem.

Under government legislation any new quiet lane needs extensive planning and awareness campaigns before a sign can even be thought about.

It is something Neil can no longer manage on his own.

With people in the parishes already on board, he wants members of the public who visit the local area to get involved.

Neil already has a project manager signed up but needs people who can write campaigns and fundraise to get on board to move things forward. Without such support he believes the project will struggle to continue.

To find out more visit the project’s Facebook page.