Bigger Better Bus and Cycle schemes ?

Eco-Action Transport Group have always said, that to meet the 2030 carbon target, there needs to be a modal shift away from cars and towards bus and cycling. That means re-allocating space, changing priorities and spending money.

However the Government has threatened, that funding for active travel schemes, would only be provided to councils, who have a good track record of delivering. This has the consequence that East Sussex County Council (ESCC) have recently struggled to get funding. One exception is £41M for bus improvements, though the detailed plans will need to be signed off by Department for Transport (DfT).

Recent unsuccessful bids include elements of the “Hailsham to Eastbourne Corridor” along A22/A2270, and pedestrian access in the Eastbourne Town Centre Phase 2A. Likewise the latest Active Travel ‘Covid’ funding allocated ESCC nothing,

For walking and cycling the DfT will only support schemes that comply with design guidance (LTN 1/20). They are not able to support schemes with any of the below elements:-

      • Shared use paths
      • Lack of protection at junctions
      • Cycle tracks in locations where they may not be well-used
      • Poor value for money
      • Not forming part of a coherent wider network

East Sussex County Council have contacted the DfT to discuss their failure to get funds and to get guidance for future bids specifically for cycling and walking schemes.

So what does this mean ? Both East Sussex and Eastbourne Councils believe in consultation and balancing all the various stakeholders. That has meant compromises have had to be made in terms of space allocated to bus and cycle schemes. Campaigners are of the opinion that cycling provision in the town has actually become worse.

If future schemes are to be funded then they need to meet the criteria and as the DfT state ‘Paint on the road is no longer enough‘. The danger is, in order not to upset the car lobby, then nothing will be built. With the projection of 25% more traffic locally by 2039 this can only lead to gridlock at peak times.  Plus an increase in the carbon footprint which  would seriously undermine the delivery of a Carbon Neutral Eastbourne by 2030, as mandated unanimously by all Eastbourne councillors.

Paul Humphreys – Cycle East Sussex

 

 

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