Herts County Council launches Sustainable Travel Towns programme
Hertfordshire County Council is stepping up its campaign against cars with a new programme called Sustainable Travel Towns.
The authority is looking for settlements like Bishop’s Stortford to take part in the initiative to create schemes that will help make it easier for residents to leave their cars at home and walk, cycle or take the bus instead.
East Herts Council has already set up a group, called Shaping Stortford, looking at the future development of the whole town.
Cllr Derrick Ashley, HCC’s cabinet member for growth, infrastructure, planning and the economy, said: “Whenever we talk about getting people out of their cars, we always come up against the same problem – that we don’t make it easy enough for people to walk, cycle or catch the bus. That’s why we’re asking towns to put themselves forward to become Sustainable Travel Towns and change all that.
"We’re looking for places that want to work with us to provide alternatives to reduce the number of car journeys in the town and get people walking and cycling instead.
"We’re willing to put up money, time and expertise to improve what’s available in the town, but we can’t do everything everywhere. These schemes need local support to be successful so we’ll work with towns where there’s a genuine local desire to change the way people get about.
“With at least 100,000 new homes planned for the county over the next 15 years, we’ll see a 20% increase in traffic on our roads if we don’t take action, so we need to look beyond car travel if we’re going to keep our county moving. We also want Hertfordshire residents to use healthy travel options wherever possible so they stay fit and well, now and in future.”
Any community group can bid for their town to become a Sustainable Travel Town. However, to be successful a bid will need support from a wide range of local stakeholders.
If Stortford successfully bids to be a Sustainable Travel Town it could benefit from a range of measures such as:
• Parking restrictions
• Bus priority measures
• New cycle routes and cycle parking
• Wider pavements and safe crossing points
• Seating, planting and better lighting in public spaces
• Personalised travel plans
Sustainable Travel Towns are part of HCC’s Local Transport Plan, which aims to reduce reliance on the car and prepare the county’s transport network for the future.
Last year the Government announced a £64m investment to support projects from 2017 to 2020 which forms part of a wider package of more than £300m to boost walking and cycling during the current Parliament. By 2040 the Government aims to make this part of everyday life and walking and cycling the natural choice for shorter journeys.