Ambitious plans to increase walking and cycling in Northumberland
June 10, 2020
Ambitious plans to encourage more people to walk and cycle in Northumberland have been backed by Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet.
The Northumberland Cycling and Walking Board has developed a wide ranging action plan
which aims to improve routes and infrastructure around the county, secure funding and increase marketing and education to promote active travel.
The ultimate aim of the plan is to increase levels of cycling and walking in the county by both residents and visitors.
Currently only 13 percent of all journeys in Northumberland are made on foot or by bike – yet a third of all trips cover a distance of less than 5 kilometres.
‘Our Way’ sets out how Northumberland aims to encourage more people of all ages and circumstances to walk and cycle more often, to improve health and wellbeing, help the economy, create jobs and improve the environment.
Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and leisure said:
“Our long term aim is to enhance the pedestrian and cycling environment in all our main towns by creating clearly signed, safe and accessible short networks that integrate well with public transport.
“We will also be working with communities, businesses and schools to support established projects such as Bikeability and Go Smarter and to increase the uptake of these sustainable travel options.”
The quality of the county’s network of recreation and long distance routes will also be enhanced, helping to establish Northumberland as a national and international destination for outdoor recreation.
The Northumberland Cycling and Walking Board brings together councillors and staff from across Northumberland County Council, with senior representatives from Sustrans, NHS England, Northumberland National Park, Northumberland Tourism, Active Northumberland, Northumberland Sport, Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust, Northumberland Sport, Forestry England and Natural England.
The strategy the Board has formed for the county is progressive and new priorities will be added over time. Funding sources are currently being explored and it is hoped that by the end of 2020 a £5m allocation will be available to improve walking and cycling in Northumberland.
Councillor Homer added: “We want Northumberland to be synonymous with walking and cycling. Encouraging walking and cycling will bring many benefits to the county. Our residents will be healthier, there will be less congestion, especially around schools, and the county’s carbon footprint will be reduced. Introducing walking and cycling leisure and tourism activities will also help to support the local environment and the economy too.”