SOLIHULL Council has approved a new cycling and walking strategy – amid fears it doesn’t go far enough to meet government targets.
Along with this a ‘Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan’ (LCWIP) has also been approved.
The new strategy, along with a ‘Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan’ outlines the overall strategic approach to active travel in Solihull.
It aims to embed cycling and walking initiatives into local policy and ensures major developments consider integrating active travel infrastructure from the start.
However with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying just last month that the government wants ‘half of all all journeys in towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030’ Green Party campaigners say much remains to be done in Solihull.
“The government’s target is a really good thing, but it will also be really challenging especially when you are talking about just temporary cycle routes as we are in Solihull,” said the borough’s Green Party leader and West Midlands mayoral candidate Councillor Steve Caudwell.
“Solihull’s strategy is a good start but it needs to go further and faster. The key question is around delivery – things like priority for cyclists over main roads as they’re doing in Birmingham – that’s the level of commitment that we need.”
Some of the key themes mentioned during Solihull’s public consultation included support for segregated cycle lanes, improving cycle storage facilities and reducing severance (barriers) for pedestrians in local centres.
Based on this feedback 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.
Councillor Ted Richards OBE, cabinet member for growth and 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.
“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.
“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.”