Council to decide on cycling and walking scheme
Published: Thursday, 2 February, 2017
Stroud District Council will be investing £300,000 over the next four years to promote more sustainable transport in the district.
The plans, which support the delivery of the council’s local plan and government policy, will aim to improve the health and wellbeing of residents and tackle increasing congestion and pollution.
Councillor Simon Pickering, chair of the council’s environment committee, said:
"There is increasing concern about air pollution from vehicle emissions. Although the Stroud district does not currently have any areas that exceed national pollution limits, recent research by Stroud-based Enviro Technology Services has suggested that pollution levels could be over 20% higher inside a vehicle with the windows shut than on the road outside. Ever-increasing levels of traffic mean that we need to be proactive in ensuring that pollution is minimised. Recent figures have suggested that rising nitrogen oxide levels are a major cause of over 20,000 premature deaths across the UK and we want to ensure that by reducing pollution levels now, the positive effect on our area will be felt for many years to come.
"By encouraging the use of sustainable transport methods such as cycling, we’ll not only be reducing pollution levels but also encouraging a healthier lifestyle, reducing the growing pressure on our health service and if the UK could adopt the levels of cycling seen in Denmark, it’s predicted the NHS could save £17billion within 20 years."
The plan will initially focus on two projects:
- A cycle track linking Uley, Dursley and Cam with the Cam and Dursley railway station. The Cam, Dursley and Uley Greenway cycle route is currently being worked on by volunteers.
- A cycle track from Sustrans national network 41 to Stonehouse Wharf, Ebley, Stroud, Thrupp and Brimscombe Port. The path will also have sections leading to Stonehouse, Stonehouse railway station, Stroud railway station and Nailsworth.
The tracks will use off-road routes as much as possible and will include improved cycle parking at stations and updated signage. Some parts of the route will also feature lighting and new metalled surfaces.
While the Greenway project requires full construction, the Nailsworth and Stroud routes will only need upgrading and improving, using existing paths following the canal.
Councillor Paul Denney, Vice-Chair of the environment committee, added:
"The government have said that ‘By 2040, walking and cycling should be a normal part of everyday life and the natural choice for short journeys’". We want everyone in the district to have access to safe, attractive routes for cycling and walking, and in order to meet the government’s ambitious targets by 2040 we need to start work now.
"The plans could also be a big win for tourism, as whilst we will continue to attract people to holiday in the Cotswolds, we should also be encouraging them to travel sustainably during their stay. Cycle tourism in the UK is worth £650 million annually and we hope by making these changes, we’ll be creating new and supporting existing tourism opportunities in the area."
The plans for the scheme will be put to the full council at their meeting on 9th February 2017.