Transport Committee presented with vision for West Yorkshire cycling network

This Friday 10th January, members of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee will be shown a draft map of how the county’s cycling routes could look, based on current cycling strategies and plans.

Covering the areas of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, the provisional map shows the network of existing cycling routes such as the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, and highlights planned connections that could be agreed and developed through future investment and funding.

During the meeting, the Transport Committee will also be asked to endorse the draft phase one Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) for these areas, in particular: south Bradford, Brighouse, east Huddersfield, north east Leeds and Wakefield city centre’s north and south corridors.

LCWIPs are part of the Government’s strategy to improve walking and cycling across the country by developing walking and cycling networks that can be introduced over time, and began in 2018.

If approved, these measures will go some way towards achieving the Combined Authority’s ambition to make Leeds City Region carbon neutral by 2038.

“We all know that making active travel an attractive option is an important factor in achieving our ambition of tackling climate change and supporting people’s physical and mental health,” said Councillor Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee. “These proposals to extend opportunities for people to enjoy safe and sustainable journeys contained in these Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans build on the significant progress that has already been made through the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme.”

A study conducted by Public Health England has found further evidence of the huge benefits more cycling and walking will provide for individuals, communities and the UK’s stretched health and care system.

According to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, as a result of participating in its 12-week ‘cycling on prescription’ scheme, part of its CityConnect programme, over one thousand people said their mental health had received a boost. A third of people who took part said they experience increased confidence, felt closer to others and felt more relaxed.

“The development process has been designed to ensure the plans can be tailored to meet people’s specific local needs as well as being suitable to their local environments,” Cllr Groves added.

In June 2018, West Yorkshire received a £1,470,000 DfT contribution after applying for the Government’s Cycle Ambition Cities grant, with the aim to install an entirely new 6km cycle route on the canal linking Hebden Birdge and Todmorden.

The Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment strategy set an aim of doubling cycling ‘stages’ from 800 million in 2013 to 1.6 billion in 2025, however the Government has admitted that funding per head in England must double if it is to reach its cycling target by then.

The agenda and papers for Friday’s Transport Committee meeting can be found here.

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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