Solihull Council has approved a new Cycling and walking strategy for the borough following consultation with local residents and businesses. Alongside the comprehensive new strategy, a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) was also approved at Cabinet yesterday evening.
The strategy outlines the overall strategic approach to active travel in Solihull. The document supports the National Cycling and Walking Plan, adopted in July 2020 and sets a clear standard for cycling and walking infrastructure. It aims to embed cycling and walking initiatives into local policy and ensures major developments consider integrating active travel infrastructure from the start.
The need to develop a Cycling and Walking Strategy, and associated LCWIP, was initially established as part of the Council’s transport strategy, Solihull Connected, and is further emphasised by the work that the Council has adopted, such as the Clean Air Strategy and Climate Change Prospectus. Encouraging residents to cycle and walk more often also closely aligns with the Council’s emerging Net Zero Action Plan which outlines how the borough intends to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2041.
During the development of the Cycling and Walking Strategy and associated LCWIP there have been two rounds of consultation, firstly in February 2020 and more recently in November-December 2020. Some of the key themes mentioned during consultation included support for segregated cycle lanes, improving cycle storage facilities and reducing severance (barriers) for pedestrians in local centres.
Based on the feedback received a number of changes were made to the strategy such as adding further rural links to the Cycling Network Plan, adding a specific policy on School Streets and including an overview of region-wide cycling and walking programmes taking place in the West Midlands.
Residents are able to view the adopted strategy in full and the LCWIP by visiting the Council website.
Elements of the strategy are already being implemented with three free to use cycle repair stations being installed across the borough. As part of the West Midlands Active Travel Fund, plans are currently being consulted on for three new temporary cycle lanes in Solihull.
The routes proposed are Blossomfield Road, Knowle to Solihull Town Centre and Meriden to Millisons Wood.
Councillor Ted Richards OBE, Cabinet Member for Growth & Infrastructure Delivery at Solihull Council, said:
“The adoption of the Cycling and Walking Strategy is a significant milestone in our commitment to increasing active travel uptake in the borough. I’d like to thank all those who contributed to the recent consultations for helping us shape this bold strategy.
“The health and wellbeing as well as environmental benefits of cycling and walking are well documented. Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen a significant increase in those walking and cycling. We want to build on the learnings of the past twelve months and for this to become the norm.
“Active transport will have a major role to play in addressing future congestion issues and in helping Solihull reduce carbon emissions currently associated with travel.
“It’s exciting times in the borough with consultation currently taking place on three temporary cycle lanes. It’s really encouraging to see Government ambitions aligned with our own through the provision of the active travel fund which is financing these particular schemes”.