Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)
The main document which sets out our vision for walking and cycling and the strategies we will use to get there is the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). LCWIPs are the best practice method nationally for planning walking and cycling improvements, and our process follows Department for Transport guidance on developing an LCWIP (GOV.UK).
The plan sets out where we want to prioritise investment and also some initial options for what could be implemented in certain locations, subject to being explored further in a future phase including suitability of funding and more detailed, site-specific technical studies as well as a full public consultation on the changes.
Why invest in walking and cycling?
Walking and cycling can be convenient, safe and enjoyable travel options and, as a council, we want to support those journeys that are able to be undertaken by walking and cycling whether that’s in part, such as reaching your local train station, or as your main mode of travel, for example, getting to school.
One of the main benefits to a greater share of journeys being walked or cycled is the saving on carbon emissions. Given that 33% of the emissions in the borough are generated by driving, supporting walking and cycling can be a key way for us to achieve our aim of becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2050 and meet the challenge of addressing the Climate Emergency.
Along with the environmental benefits, walking and cycling can be attractive ways to save money with the average cost of running a car recently found to be over £3,000 per year. We have recognised that some of the barriers to residents making more walking and cycling journeys include a perceived lack of safe infrastructure and missing links, therefore as a council we are aiming to increase levels of investment to improve existing infrastructure and, where possible, create new links that will be accessible to all levels of ability.
Walking and cycling can be a gentle form of exercise that is integrated into our daily routines and studies have found that walking and cycling as a means of travel can noticeably improve health and fitness levels which is vital given that only 40% of men and 28% of women across the UK are meeting the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week.
This demonstrates how walking and cycling are not only good for the individual but can also help to reduce the burden on our health and social care systems.
We recognise that not all journeys can be undertaken by walking and cycling and will aim to ensure that there is continued access for those who need it, particularly those with mobility challenges. By switching a greater share of journeys to walking and cycling, we will free up space on our roads and parking facilities for those who need to drive as well as providing an opportunity to be imaginative with the public realm in our town centres and neighbourhoods to make them liveable and pleasant places to work, shop or relax.