Council’s new cycling and walking plan looks to make Telford and Wrekin happier, healthier and more sustainable

Residents and visitors to Telford and Wrekin will see new, enhanced and promoted provision for cycling and walking in the borough, following Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet’s approval of a Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan at its meeting last week [Thursday 14 July].

Council’s new cycling and walking plan looks to make Telford and Wrekin happier, healthier and more sustainable

The plan sets out Telford & Wrekin’s vision to further enhance ‘active travel’ – a term referring to journeys made by physically active means, like walking or cycling – and its ultimate aim is to see walking or cycling replace shorter car journeys in the borough.

High level proposals from the council include improving and building new infrastructure, while also encouraging and supporting residents and visitors to walk and cycle more in their everyday lives, through publicising local routes and promoting the wellbeing and sustainability benefits of active travel.

The council has said that this working document will be informed by ongoing consultation with stakeholders to deliver the best outcomes for the community. It will also enable the authority to seek out and secure further funding streams to continue delivering on its vision.

The plan builds on the council’s work over the past two years which has seen £600,000 invested into the creation of a new 2km cycleway/footway along the A518 between Donnington and Church Aston, maintenance of the Silkin Way, installation of high quality cycle facilities in district centres, and a dedicated footway/cycleway sweeper. This investment complements the recently opened Telford Bike Hub in the award winning Telford Town Park – a dedicated facility providing cycle safety and bike maintenance training for both children and adults.

The council is also planning further investment during 2022, including £800,000 into signage/way-finding and infrastructure along the Silkin Way, and £150,000 for high quality cycle parking hubs.

By encouraging the switch away from unnecessary car journeys, the council’s active travel agenda aims to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions in the borough, supporting its ambitious goal for borough-wide carbon neutrality by 2030; studies undertaken by the University of Oxford have found that those who switch just one trip per day from driving to cycling can reduce their carbon footprint by approximately 0.5 tonnes a year.

It also looks to enhance public health by providing a free, safe and appealing environment for residents to take exercise. It has been shown that physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover, while a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can help reduce obesity levels and reduce disease, easing pressure on the wider health and care system.

Cllr Richard Overton (Labour), Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Enforcement and Transport, said:

“By adopting this Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan, Telford and Wrekin is taking the next step on its journey towards becoming a healthier and more sustainable borough.

“Through ambition, investment and co-operation with our community partners, we will create an enhanced walking and cycling network that appeals to all of our residents and visitors and encourages them to travel ‘actively’, bringing about significant wellbeing and environmental benefits.”

View the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan

Photo shows Cllr Richard Overton on the Silkin Way, which has been improved for walkers and cyclists, paving the way for a more active, sustainable borough