Braintree District Council unveils its plan to double the number of cycling trips by 2030

Boys cycling on Flitch Way

First draft of an implementation plan to increase the number of people cycling has been published.

Braintree District Council has finalised its cycling strategy and has published the first draft of an implementation plan which it hopes will lead to a significant and sustained increase in cycling across the district.

The unveiling of the plan follows an eight week public engagement exercise in which residents and businesses were asked to give their views on the strategy and the actions that should be taken to increase the number of journeys people make by bike.

Seventy-four percent of people who responded to the questionnaire agreed that the development of a cycling strategy should be a priority; and sixty-one percent thought that creating a coherent cycle network, to encourage more people to cycle more often, should be the most important priority and action.

The Council wants to double the number of cycling trips taken over the next nine years in a bid to reduce emissions, congestion and tackle the issues associated with climate change.

The top three actions identified in the plan include:

·         Creating a coherent cycle network plan which connects rural and urban areas

·         Working with developers and key partners to secure the funding needed to implement the changes

·         Promotion of cycling and cycling facilities to ensure that cycling is seen as a safe, normal and enjoyable activity

Councillors will be asked to review and approve the strategy and implementation plan at a meeting of the Full Council on 20 September.

If approved, the Authority will work with key partners, members of the cycling community and other interested parties to further refine the implementation plan. Delivery of the actions will require funding from a range of sources, and the support of stakeholders and partners - such as Essex County Council - the lead Authority for infrastructure.

Cllr Frankie Ricci, Cabinet Member for Communities at Braintree District Council, said: “With our partners, we want to implement a plan which makes cycling in our district safer, easier and more connected. We know from reading the responses to the questionnaire that people want a cycle network which connects urban and rural areas and improvement to cycling facilities to make cycling safer. The benefits speak for themselves. Cycling is great for health and accessibility and when replacing journeys by car it reduces congestion and emissions. It can also lead to economic benefits for businesses and tourism.”

The strategy and draft implementation plan can be found in the agenda for Full Council here.

Braintree District Council’s vision for cycling follows the climate change declaration by the Council in 2019 and its promise to do all it can to make its activities, as far as possible, carbon neutral by 2030. The strategy and draft action plan for the climate change challenge can be found here.

Published: 14th September 2021