The Planning Services Manager talked through the Agenda report and drew attention to the following points:
· Although quite dated, 2011 census data had identified that 2% of journeys to work were made by bicycle and no data was available for leisure cycling
· There were three counters in Worcestershire, which all showed that during 2020, there had been a consistent increase in cycling compared to 2019, with expected drops for weather events and shorter days for example
· In July 2020, central government produced new advice and guidance, including LTN 1/20 referred to by one of the Public Participants. The aspiration was to encourage people to be more active, contributing to health and well-being, and for cycle networks to be convenient and as safe as possible
· LTP4, adopted in 2017 included proposals for the period up to 2030 for active travel
· A number of funding bids had been submitted to central government, with some already secured. Further funding opportunities were expected and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional funding had been released by the government.
The Chairman invited questions and the following key points were made:
· To answer the public question as to whether the Council had considered LTN 1/20, the Panel learned that it had and would continue to do so
· Some Members asked about specific local schemes in their Divisions, which were encountering issues. It was agreed that Officers would provide further information outside of the meeting, however, in all cases, it was felt that Member engagement was lacking and that each Member should be regularly updated on schemes in their area
· The Panel learned that new housing developments were considered for active travel and personalised travel planning was always available
· In response to a query as to what progress had been made with Phase 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund, it was reported that mapping had been undertaken, cycle parking had been commissioned and companies would be invited to apply for parking and two surface improvement schemes were in the contractor’s (Ringway) programme of works
· A Member expressed concern that the government’s shift away from shared use was not reflected in Council proposals, however, it was clarified that schemes may need to be modified in light of new guidance. In relation to Canal Towpaths, lighting would not be considered, however, passing places may be
· Although there was not a Council target to increase active travel, it was hoped that residents could be further encouraged to make shorter journeys by walking or cycling. In addition, funding had been sought to increase the number of counters, which would provide more data collection
· A Member asked how a new footway or cycle path could be installed if not already in a programme, to be informed that Officers were open to conversation
· Overall, the Panel was pleased with the progress made in relation to active travel and looked forward to an annual update.