Ten year plan unveiled for Suffolk walking and cycling routes
PUBLISHED: 07:30 06 November 2019
A 10-year-vision of getting people in Suffolk to enjoy walking and cycling on the county's bridleways and footpaths has been unveiled.
Suffolk County Council has produced a Rights of Way Improvement Plan to run from 2020 to 2030, which will consider sustainable travel choices and the health benefits of walking and cycling.
Among the measures the plan includes is creating a digital map of the county's footpaths and bridleways, a new system to prioritise maintenance of highly-used routes and consider alternative routes where the cost of repairs are too high.
The new plan was agreed by the council's cabinet on Tuesday afternoon.
Councillor Andrew Reid, Conservative cabinet member for highways, said: "The proposal is to provide direction in how the rights of way network is managed, maintained and improved to meet the needs of all users, and that includes walkers, cyclists, horse riders and people with various degrees of disability.
"The plan is an important measure by which Suffolk can respond to issues around the climate emergency."
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A public consultation has already been held, in which issues raised were a lack of an online map, overgrown routes putting people off and maintenance.
It is hoped the new plan will help address those issues, as well as others such as vehicle use, signposting and trespassing.
The council has also highlighted the health benefits of walking and cycling those routes, rather than using cars for journeys, and help people feel connected with their local habitats.
Penny Otton, leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said: "Rights of way are really so important to our communities, so they will be very pleased to see this report.
"I urge you to continue to develop and support them as much as you can ."
Ms Otton said that developing strong links to developers building new homes would help safeguard public rights of way from intrusion of new builds, and help secure the necessary financial contributions that could be used to help fund maintenance and repairs of the network.
The council declared a climate emergency earlier this year, with plans underway to help the authority become carbon neutral by 2030.