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East Sussex County Council has today issued its Draft Cycling Strategy. Consultation continues until 20/02/09. A link to the County Council's relevant webpage has been added to the consultation page of the Sedlescombe Parish Council website.

The main change in the proposed policy is a shift in emphasis towards utility cycling, ie to work and school, rather than recreational cycling as it is believed that this will provide the greatest potential to contribute towards the targets contained in the County Council Second Local Transport Plan.

Following is the Executive Summary of the County Council Report:

"This strategy replaces the previous County Council Cycling Strategy produced in 2003, forming part of the wider set of LTP documents. It is not intended to be a delivery or implementation plan, but instead is designed to provide a robust framework to guide future investment in cycling facilities with the explicit aim of achieving maximum benefit from any new facilities implemented in the County.

"The revised strategy has been produced in response to the Scrutiny Review of Cycling that took place in 2007, and prompted a shift in emphasis in cycle policy towards utility cycling rather than recreational cycling. The main recommendation of the review was that the Cycling Strategy be revised to reflect this approach.

"Cycling levels in East Sussex, especially for utility trips, are highest along the flat and densely populated coastal strip and, therefore, the potential for significantly increasing cycling is considered to be greatest in these and other larger urban areas where cycling can replace many shorter car journeys of less than 5 miles. It is recognised that cycling for recreational purposes is a positive activity that can contribute towards improving health and wellbeing, and also that there is a link between increased levels of recreational cycling and take up of cycling for utility trips. However, County Council transport funding will not be allocated towards implementing such facilities and their future development will be heavily dependant on identifying external funding (e.g. development contributions).

"Completion of the National Cycle Network (NCN) in East Sussex remains a priority for the County Council, but must be considered in the overall context of this strategy. Whilst some sections have been completed to a high standard, other lengths exist only as signed routes along busy roads or Rights of Way and will require significant investment to achieve the standard recommended by Sustrans. Many of these incomplete sections are located in rural parts of the County and there is little potential for significant utility cycling in these areas. Therefore, such sections are unlikely to warrant inclusion in the County Council’s Integrated Transport Capital Programme and will also be reliant on external funding.

"Development of utility cycle routes and facilities in the larger urban areas, linking residential areas with major trip attractors such as schools, shopping centres and major employment centres will have greater potential to achieve modal shift and therefore contribute to achieving the targets contained in the LTP2."

Mrs P Raymond
Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer, Sedlescombe Parish Council
01424 870508, sedlescombe@freezone.co.uk, www.sedlescombe.org.uk
12 January 2009