Essex County, England Cycling Strategy
Shown below are pages 5 & 7 of the introduction only. The entire document spans 93 pages.
1.1 This document has been produced in response to the Government’s requirement for local transport authorities to produce a cycling strategy as part of their Local Transport Plan (LTP). The LTP was submitted to the Government in July 2000 and contains brief details of all the policies relevant to the proposed programme of works set out in the LTP. The preparation of an Essex-wide cycling strategy allows Essex authorities to demonstrate their commitment to cycling in greater detail. It also allows more in depth consultation and involvement between local authorities and other organisations on the implementation plan, which will be funded from a variety of sources.
1.2 A National Cycling Strategy for guiding all organisations involved with planning for cycling was produced in 1996. It included a headline target to substantially increase the number of journeys undertaken by bicycle. The national strategy also contained a detailed framework of suggested activities which organisations could engage in to help achieve the national target. More recently the Government has laid out additional guidelines for local authorities to follow in its guidance for producing LTPs.
1.3 The Essex Cycling Strategy follows these guidelines in a logical step by step manner illustrating how they can be implemented within a county as large and diverse as Essex.
1.4 Whereas the strategy document is new and complements the LTP, the activities and initiatives proposed have been in place for some time. Essex authorities have together been promoting cycling for many years and this strategy is in many ways a distillation and exemplification of the policies and practices already in place. The County Council adopted its Policy Framework for cycling in 1994 and this has been instrumental in guiding the development of a network of cycle routes, chiefly within the Essex towns. It has also helped to encourage provision for recreational cycling.
1.5 In 1997 the Council agreed to expand the policy framework into a local cycling strategy for Essex. There were considerable relevant national developments at this time, not least the publication of the National Cycling Strategy. In more recent years the Government has produced its White Paper on Transport and asked local authorities to prepare LTPs. The Council wanted the local cycling strategy to reflect these changes, and so delayed its preparation until the new Replacement County Structure Plan and the LTP were in place to set the appropriate local policy context for cycling. Details of the County Council’s formal policies for cycling can be found in the appendices, which list relevant extracts from the Structure Plan as well as the 1994 policy framework outlined above.
The Essex Context
1.9 More locally, the Essex and Southend Replacement County Structure Plan embodies the headline target of increasing the amount of cycling. It includes a number of sustainable principles and policies to help achieve this target. Many of the policies are directed at promoting cycling as an alternative to using the car, especially for shorter distance trips within urban areas, and at land use changes that make short trips more practical. A summary of the Essex and Southend Replacement Structure Plan policies that are relevant to cycling can be found in the Appendix.
1.10 Cycling is an element within four of the six main objectives of the Local Transport Plan (LTP), dealing with safety, accessibility, environment and integration. The LTP emphasises the contribution which cycling can make to different policy areas, including safer routes to school, social inclusion and modal integration.
1.11 The specific aim of encouraging people to cycle by implementing cycle friendly facilities is incorporated within the LTP through its proposed implementation programme covering each of the five geographic areas – main urban areas, large towns, rural, inter urban and countywide.
1.12 Both the LTP and Structure plan policies for cycling are consistent with Regional Planning Guidance Note 9, which covers London and the South East.
Scope of the Essex Cycling Strategy
1.13 The Essex Cycling Strategy is a collection of elements and related actions that work together in an integrated way to create cycling facilities and to promote cycling. They are intended to cater for the present and future needs for cycling within the broad context of transport and other related objectives, which the County Council wants to achieve.
1.14 The purpose of the Cycling Strategy can be summarised as:-
- setting a clear vision for cycling throughout Essex
- providing the links between cycle and other related policy initiatives
- influencing the policy content of Local Plans, District Transportation Strategies, and other key policy documents
- providing a reference point for the cycle element of District Transportation Strategies
- stimulating inter-agency work between local authorities and other organisations involved in the promotion of cycling and cycling facilities
- clarifying what is expected from the development plan process
- giving a framework for the cycling content of the LTP and the annual progress reports