Councillors call for ‘green routes’ around Fife

Councillors hope to get more Fifers walking and cycling.Councillors hope to get more Fifers walking and cycling.
Councillors hope to get more Fifers walking and cycling.
A call for more ‘green routes’ for active travel around north east Fife has been backed by local councillors.

A motion by the North East Fife Lib Dem Group councillors to the area committee promoting the cause of green routes for cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians, was passed unanimously.

A ‘green route’ pilot project was undertaken in Perth and Kinross in 2013. The identified route was given comprehensive signing, visible along the entire route, reminding drivers that they were likely to meet other types of road users including walkers, cyclists and equestrians.

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The project was considered a success, leading to requests for further projects – a number of which have now been brought to fruition. These routes attract increasing numbers of cyclists from inside and outside of the areas that they are introduced.

The motion put councillors in north east Fife called on transportation officers to engage with colleagues in Perth and Kinross to understand the costs and benefits of its green route scheme, and to identify potential funding sources for green route schemes in north east Fife.

Officers have been asked to report back to councillors within six months.

The motion was proposed and seconded by the Tay Bridgehead councillors Jonny Tepp and Tim Brett.

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Cllr Tepp said: “Most of the ‘c’ class roads in Kinross-shire are now green routes. Green routes have also been installed in north east Perthshire, around Alyth and Coupar Angus.

“We are told they have had a beneficial impact.”

Cllr Brett added: “We believe there are funding sources that can help to support this initiative so that any costs to Fife Council can be kept down.

“The work would not all be done in one go – Perth and Kinross have been working on this for a number of years now.”

Fellow Lib Dem councillors Bill Porteous and Jane Ann Liston also supported the move.

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Cllr Porteous said: “We see a steady stream of requests from cyclists for safer facilities. We see this as an opportunity to learn from our near neighbours on how they have made progress and hope that the whole of north east Fife can benefit.”

Cllr Liston added: “As a keen cyclists myself I want to see safer rural roads for cyclists. Whereas it is difficult to fund multi-million pound cycle paths the evidence from Perth and Kinross suggests that where serious on-road measures are taken, this can make a difference and there is funding available to make this happen.”

The 2010 Cycling Action Plan for Scotland set a target for 2020 that 10 per cent of everyday journeys would be made by bike. This target was not met and only around four per cent of journeys were made by bike in 2019.

There has been funding support for active travel over recent years, and this has had an impact in some places. The current Covid-19 crisis has encouraged people to walk and cycle more and there is widespread agreement that this is good for mental and physical health and the environment. The councillors said the main barrier to increased cycling and walking is the need for people to feel safe. Segregated paths are the gold-standard in this regard, but there is evidence that on-road measures can also make a difference, as exemplified by the green routes in Perth and Kinross.

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