Three ambitious strategies to improve air quality and health in the district, encourage more walking and cycling & reduce vehicles in residential areas could take a step forward next week.
A report on the outcomes of the public consultation on the council’s liveable neighbourhoods policies is going before Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet on December 10, and shows a high level of support for the key principles the council has put forward.
The report recommends that the policies, which would help the council tackle the climate and ecological emergency and improve people’s health and wellbeing, be adopted.
The council held a public consultation from September 9 to October 18 this year asking for people’s views on the three strategies that form the basis for liveable neighbourhoods. These are low traffic neighbourhoods, residents’ parking schemes and on-street electric vehicle charging.
The consultation received more than 1,600 responses and the report asks the Cabinet to review these, support the adoption of the three strategies and allow each scheme to run for a minimum of six months to allow time for people adapt to new ways of travelling.
Between 78% and 85% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the key principles of low traffic neighbourhoods, with 10-16% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.
The report outlines that there is strong support for the creation of safer spaces and the advantages to wellbeing and air quality, with numerous areas identified that residents felt would benefit from the scheme. Particular importance was attributed to the need for safer routes to support children walking and cycling to school.
However, concerns were also highlighted by respondents about traffic volume, speed and the impact on parking provision, especially for those with restricted mobility. There were also comments on the need for improved infrastructure to support more walking and cycling, including cycling links to areas outside of Bath.
Councillor Joanna Wright, joint cabinet member for Transport Services, said: “We want to reframe how communities share road space in Bath and North East Somerset to create pleasant, healthy and safe places for people to work and live. Liveable Neighbourhoods aim to encourage less unnecessary and unproductive car use and promotes walking and cycling, improve people’s health and wellbeing along with our Clean Air Zone mean a big step forward in meeting our climate and ecological emergency ambitions.
“Thanks to everyone who took part in our consultation. We will consider the detail of the report carefully before making our decision on the best measures that could be adopted to prioritise active travel, improve air quality and promote better health in our area. Our approach has been to engage with local communities so we can agree an overall framework and policy before we move forward on particular schemes as we think this is the best way of securing sustainable change and bringing people with us.”
The report details that a range of measures could be implemented to create liveable neighbourhoods, including:
- Modal filters, a road design restricting certain types of vehicle, to reduce long distance trips on minor roads where drivers have no need to be in the neighbourhood
- Expanding residents’ car parking to reduce the amount of free and convenient all-day commuter parking available, encouraging alternative travel modes
- School streets to make active travel the natural choice for young people
- Making local streets attractive, safe and convenient for walking and cycling
- Improving main routes to encourage sustainable travel
- Investing in on-street electric vehicle charging to help phase out cars powered by petrol and diesel, improving air quality and helping to meet the council’s climate emergency goals
View the Liveable Neighbourhoods strategies at https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/liveable-neighbourhoods-consultation