Posted: 03.06.20 at 17:17 by Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter
Cycle routes in and around Wells could be connected up or enhanced as part of council plans to cut car use and reduce engine idling.
Mendip District Council has drawn up a list of routes it wishes to improve as part of its strategy to make the district carbon-neutral by 2030.
The plans involve filling in 100 kilometres’ worth of “missing links”, connecting up existing cycle routes to encourage more people to walk or cycle to school or work and thereby reduce reliance on cars.
The council also intends to install “no idling” signs at recycling centres, swimming pools and in other public areas in a bid to change drivers’ behaviour.
These measures were discussed by the council’s cabinet when it met virtually on Monday evening (June 1).
According to council figures, 61 per cent of all car journeys made within Mendip say within the district (rather than commuting or transporting materials outside of the area).
Council leader Ros Wyke said action was needed to account for “diminishing public transport” across the district and would bring multiple health benefits.
She said: “Right across the country, without doubt, there is a pent-up need for cycle paths and improvement to access.
“The lack of paths in Somerset, and particularly in Mendip, is a legacy we are determined to address.
“From the urban areas to the countryside, and from the rural communities to the market towns and their facilities, our residents are asking: ‘Why can’t we walk and cycle?’.
“It’s no longer ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ – it’s ‘smell the fresh air’.”
The 14 routes which could be connected up are:
Shepton Mallet to Emborough
Shepton Mallet to Wanstrow
Wells to Westbury-sub-Mendip
Glastonbury to Street
Street to Sharpham
Sharpham to Glastonbury
‘Connecting Frome’ (various routes in and around the town)
Frome to Wanstrow
Shepton Mallet to Evercreech
Wells to Glastonbury
Glastonbury to Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet to Wells
Street to Walton (pending co-operation with Sedgemoor District Council)
Frome to Bath (pending co-operation with Bath and North East Somerset Council)
The order in which the routes are achieved depends on the timing and availability of funding, as well as the number of parishes involved in each negotiation.
The council will work with Somerset County Council, each area’s parish councils and cycle groups (such as the Strawberry Line Association and Mendip Cycling Club) to “audit” the existing cycle network, figure out how much each improvement will cost and taking existing local transport projects into account.
Each route will have a “delivery plan” created, which will be brought back to the cabinet later in the year for approval.