Families, commuters and school children in Essex will be encouraged to take up active travel habits this year as a result of Government funding recently awarded to Essex County Council.
The £1 million Capability Funding will be used to plan and develop walking and cycling networks over the next 10 years.
This will include running a series of local engagement events to enable residents and businesses to have their say and help to shape networks across the county, as well as having input to school streets and liveable neighbourhoods. Feedback from these engagement sessions will input directly into the design of the new routes.
Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport at Essex County Council, said: “The continued Government commitment to encouraging more of our residents to walk and cycle is welcome. At the start of a new year many people are looking to improve their health as well as cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint.
“By leaving the car at home and choosing to walk or cycle, especially for shorter journeys, is an easy way to get fit, save money and do your bit for the planet.
“To encourage more people to walk or cycle, we need to deliver high-quality schemes that make it feel easy, safe and fun. This new funding will mean that we can improve our technical skills and better engage with the views of Essex people, ultimately helping us deliver improvements that have widespread local support.”
In addition, the funding will support several more immediate active travel projects across Essex, all with the ambition of changing travel behaviour. These include:
The expansion of existing active travel programmes e.g., the Smarter Travel for Essex travel planning network for businesses
The introduction of some electric bikes to the Essex Pedal Power project to enable people to travel further or build their strength before they go on to use a standard bike. The bike-loan scheme provides bikes to residents in the county’s most disadvantaged communities
More community cycling grants to support learn-to-ride sessions, free bikes for targeted groups, cycling festivals and taster sessions
Cycling maintenance training
Walking champions to work with volunteers to undertake school street audits for clusters of schools
Working with NHS Integrated Care Systems to create new active travel habits through social prescribing walks