Views sought on ambitious cycling plans

More than 400 cyclists took part in the Wooler Wheel in October. Picture by AndersonDrummond Photography
More than 400 cyclists took part in the Wooler Wheel in October. Picture by AndersonDrummond Photography

People are being urged to have their say on ambitious plans which will see cycling at the hub of Northumberland’s future plans.

Northumberland already has an extensive network of cycling and walking routes and has just set up a walking and cycling board which aims to bring all agencies together to boost the economic, health and tourism benefits for the county.

The council has now produced a Cycling Plan which has three objectives:

• To maximise the role of cycling as a mode of transport, in order to reduce the use of private cars, to improve the health of people and enhance the environment.

• To contribute to the development of a sustainable, safe, convenient, efficient and attractive transport network, which encourages active travel and the use of public transport to reduce the reliance on private cars.

• To raise the profile of cycling in Northumberland, highlighting its importance for transport, health and tourism.

The consultation document has already gone out to various organisations which have an interest in cycling. British Cycling will also forward it on to all affiliated cycling clubs in Northumberland and Tyneside, inviting comments.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and the environment, said: “The county’s cycling plan supports our other work on roads and footpaths and will provide a focus for improvements which will enable local people to cycle more easily as part of their normal day, as well as encouraging sustainable tourism. This is an opportunity for residents and interested groups to help shape the future of cycling in the county.”

Coun Anne Dale, who chairs the cycling and walking board, added: “What we want to achieve in Northumberland is to enable cycling and walking to become a normal part of everyday life for all ages. Our cycling plan is one of the cornerstones of our board, which aims to promote all the benefits of walking and cycling to a wider audience, including visitors.

“Cycling brings so many benefits, both to the individual and the wider community, and we hope as many people as possible will take a few minutes to look at the plans and let us know what they think.”

People can go to the county council website to view the document and any comments can be sent to HighwaysProgramme@northumberland.gov.uk. The deadline for comments is Monday, January 5.