£120k for temporary measures to encourage walking and cycling

Somerset has been allocated £120,000 in emergency funding for temporary measures to encourage walking and cycling.

The Department for Transport has now confirmed details of the first £45m from its £250m emergency active travel fund*.

The five Local Authorities in Somerset have been working with the police and other partners to identify a list of priority action areas (“quick wins”).

A number of ideas have been put forward which meet the government guidance to prioritise social distancing and public health.

However, the limited amount of funding confirmed so far cannot be used for major infrastructure changes – only for temporary measures (barriers, cones etc) which are cheaper to deliver but can be costly to maintain.

The multi-agency group will now be working with partners and local representatives to target the funding at areas which require immediate action and can be delivered quickly.

Types of measures being considered may include:

·       Restrictions to motorised traffic on some roads

·       Widening footways

·       Creating cycle lanes

·       Providing better walking/cycle route information

These measures may not be universally supported, even on a temporary basis, and it will be important to understand the implications on the ground via a series of implementation plans. These will assess key impacts such as access and maintenance issues.

Delivering these schemes at pace will be a challenge but all five local authorities are committed to seizing the opportunity and working with Local Councils to enable positive changes to the nature of our towns to encourage more walking and cycling.