Green light for active travel in North Somerset

Ambitious plans to make it easier for residents to choose active travel options locally have been given the green light.

North Somerset councillors adopted the Active Travel Strategy at a full council meeting on Monday (19 July).

The strategy sets out plans to develop more opportunities over the next ten years to ‘make walking and cycling the natural choice for a cleaner, healthier and more active North Somerset’.

The strategy aims to achieve a number of benefits locally including safe and frequent active travel to improve public health, a positive impact on carbon emissions, support for the local economy and development of active travel neighbourhoods.

If we’re to be successful in encouraging more people to leave the car behind and travel more frequently using active travel modes, we have to make them an attractive choice.

We have already made great progress in North Somerset with a significant increase in walking and cycling journeys in the three years before the pandemic, with a sustained increase in people opting to get out in the saddle or on foot over the past year.

We have set an ambitious target of increasing walking and cycling trips by at least 300 per cent by 2030. This ambition will focus us on ensuring that the North Somerset transport network and its users are contributing to carbon neutrality as much and as soon as possible.

Cllr Don Davies, Leader of North Somerset Council

By delivering the strategy, North Somerset Council will help to create and reshape environments that provide equal access for everyone and not just those with access to a car. There will be less dominance by the motor car to create greener, safer and more active environments for local people, businesses and visitors.

The benefits of increased active travel to both physical and mental health are clear, but the strategy also hopes to boost the local economy by encouraging shorter journeys and increased trade with local businesses.

A public consultation on the strategy was conducted between November 2020 and January 2021. 91 per cent of respondents agreed that an increase in active travel is needed to help North Somerset reduce its carbon emissions from transport. 77 per cent of respondents agreed that more should be done to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists over private motor vehicles wherever possible.

The strategy is available on the council’s website.

Press release by North Somerset Council.