Making Essex Safer, Greener and Healthier – Essex County Council publishes new COVID-19 Recovery Transport Plan
Transport, infrastructure and connectivity are critical to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
This week sees the publication of Essex County Council’s new COVID-19 Recovery Transport Plan, which describes the council’s ambition to drive continued, positive changes to transportation and travel in Essex.
Using funding from the Department of Transport, Essex pedestrians and cyclists are now starting to reap the benefits of the ‘Safer, Greener, Healthier’ investment helping residents move safely around Essex.
Working with local councils and other organisations, Essex County Council has been introducing improvements and expansion to the current cycling and walking urban environment, changing parts of the road network and extending safe, accessible areas in towns.
To support this, ECC have now developed a Covid-19 transport recovery plan that will:
- Enable people to move safely around the county again, while adhering to social distancing guidelines
- Support business in Essex to re-start trading and assist ongoing economic recovery
- Encourage a sustainable safer, greener, healthier approach to travel in the county
As residents emerge from lockdown with more and more businesses open and increasing numbers of people returning to work, Essex Highways wants to ensure the health and safety of all residents, prevent further infection, encourage healthier travel choices and help tackle the climate emergency and air quality challenges we all face.
Over the next few months the plan will:
- Enhance safe routes for pedestrians and people who cycle
- Reduce speed limits to 20 mph in agreed locations
- Improve existing pedestrian and cycle routes
- Encourage local residents to consider more active and healthier travel choices in preference to personal motor transport, where possible
A second phase of funding will focus on longer-term transport upgrades and will address increasing active travel. Opportunities under consideration include:
- Sustainable transport to/from schools, using ‘school streets’ measures
- New Park and Ride sites
- Trialling e-scooters when legal and provision of more electric car charging points
- Publicising ECC’s cycling and walking strategy
- Establishment of Rapid Transit routes in Essex, initially associated with Garden Communities.
These longer-term schemes will make cycling, walking and public transport more accessible and safer by increasing road space for non-motor transport.
The initiatives support ECC’s long-term aim to bring about a permanent shift to more active and sustainable travel.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, highlighted the opportunities to transform Essex.
Cllr Bentley said: “We have a real opportunity here to make a difference. We want to transform the way Essex residents travel and this funding will enable us to make our county into a place where many more journeys are made by people cycling who feel safer, and pedestrians who have improved routes, and where communities and the workplace are connected for a more sustainable future.”
The full plan document and a shorter Executive Summary are available online at www.essex.gov.uk/safer-greener-healthier.