A new CycleHerts blog post was well overdue and there is plenty to talk about. Our April meeting was cancelled due to Covid-19 so we had to organise stuff by email, including engagement with the process of allocating funds from the DfT Emergency Active Travel Fund. We have had a number of issues with this, see for example our Chair’s response to Hertfordshire County Council on the subject.
We held our July meeting (see minutes) online with eight people participating, including Odette Carter from HCC who provided us with a written Highways Strategy Update ahead of the meeting. On the agenda were things like the Hertfordshire Speed Management Strategy 2020 which is open for public engagement until 16 September.
Back in April the government published a policy paper on Creating the transport decarbonisation plan – there is a link to an 80 page PDF called Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge. There is also a Transport decarbonisation plan: call for ideas which closes on 31 August.
Another item on the agenda was cycling design guidance. Odette Carter did not have a target date for a revised version of Roads in Hertfordshire and had not heard anything about revised national guidance, which had been overdue for a year. We only had to wait 18 days for the latter when on 27 July DfT published Cycle infrastructure design (LTN 1/20). Running to 188 pages it is described as guidance for local authorities on designing high-quality, safe cycle infrastructure. It will be interesting to see how HCC responds.
All of this was somewhat overshadowed by the surprise (to me anyway) government publication, also on 27 July, of a Cycling and walking plan for England. Running to a more manageable 52 pages this plan describes the “vision to make England a great walking and cycling nation”. The plan has been welcomed by organisations like Sustrans (see here) and British Cycling (see here). Under the plan residents will get powers to banish through-traffic from local streets and councils will be prevented from building substandard cycle lanes. The plans will also see the creation of a watchdog called Active Travel England, to be led by a commissioner for walking and cycling (from a Guardian Article published on the day of the announcement).
In 2018 the government committed to update the highway code to improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. On 28 July the government opened a consultation seeking views on proposed changes to the Highway Code – there is a link to a 67 page document which describes the proposals. Consultation closes on 27 October.
A new cycling and walking plan for England, new national design guidance and a consultation on changes to the Highway Code, all within two days, together with ongoing work on the Transport Decarbonisation Plan – it is all happening!
There has also been a lot going on at Sustrans. In 2018 they presented a new vision for the National Cycle Network in their Paths for Everyone review. The review was completed recently and Sustrans published an FAQ on reclassification of the National Cycle Network. Meanwhile, the Design Council, which provides strategic advice to local authorities across the UK, has announced a new strategic partnership with Sustrans to help deliver active travel neighbourhoods. Note that the National Cycle Network Map can be viewed on the Ordnance Survey website.
Finally, I recently learned about a project being developed by a guy called Martin Nelson. Originally named C25, the Cycle Orbital comprises 400km of quiet cycleway round London, 60% off-road. It uses and adds to the existing National Cycle Network and extends well up into Hertfordshire.