Fife looks to create green routes for walkers and cyclists

Cycle pathsCycle paths
Cycle paths
Fife Council is to explore the creation of walking and cycle-friendly 'Green Routes' similar to those in Perth and Kinross.

A motion presented to the local authority's North East Area Committee by Councillor Jonny Tepp has requested that transportation staff engage with their counterparts across the border to learn more about the Green Routes scheme.

Perth and Kinross introduced the initiative in 2013 after it was first trialled in Clackmannanshire. It sees affected roads given lower speed limits and signage that designates them as 'walking and cycling friendly' - and is usually aimed at C-class roads which are used less by cars.

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Cllr Tepp (Scottish Liberal Democrat, Tay Bridgehead) said the introduction of such a scheme in north-east Fife could improve road safety and provide continuity for those travelling into Fife from the neighbouring council area.

The rise in cycling during the coronavirus pandemic, he said, had been "good for mental and physical health and the environment" - a trend he wants to see continuing.

He told the committee on Wednesday: "The 2010 Cycling Action Plan for Scotland set a target that 10% of all journeys are made by bike by 2020. Sadly this target was not met.

"The main barrier to this is the need for people to feel safe - I'm sure people are aware that segregated paths are the gold standard though I do believe in-road measures can also make a difference."

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He concluded: "We would like officers to identify potential Green Routes and look at the cost of them because we believe there are funding sources available that would bring in new money."

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the role of active travel has become even more pronounced in local transport.

Areas of Fife recorded noticeable improvements in air quality during lockdown while cycle counters have reported record levels of cycle use.

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Sustainable transport charity Sustrans administered the Spaces for People fund on behalf of Transport Scotland. It aimed to make social distancing and active travel easier for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users alike, but was met with criticism by some for disrupting businesses.

However, Cllr Tepp's motion was approved unanimously by the committee.

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