Government’s active travel scheme was ‘disastrous’ - East Sussex councillor
The government’s active travel plans were ‘probably the most disastrous thing we’ve ever had’ in East Sussex, according to one Labour councillor.
During the first lockdown last year, funding was made available for local authorities to reallocate road space and create pop-up cycle lanes to aid with social distancing.
According to East Sussex County Council’s final monitoring report for 2020/21, the expectation from government was for a rapid rollout of temporary cycling and walking measures.
However the county council decided to consult with residents, businesses and stakeholders on the temporary measures to minimise the risk of works beginning and then being aborted due to a negative reaction.
The schemes that were awarded funding in the second tranche of projects are ‘on track for delivery’.
At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (June 27), Labour’s Godfrey Daniel said: “I think the initiative from the government was probably the most disastrous thing we have ever had.
“I never mind people giving us money for well thought out ideas.
“But the active travel interventions which were done at the last minute diverted our officers from their core tasks and ended up being schemes which were pretty badly received.”
He said in his own area he had received more complaints about this than anything else.
Cllr Daniel went on to say he did not blame the county council for what had happened.
Keith Glazier, leader of the council, replied: “I’m sure we all agree, we would not have carried it out the way it was. The lessons learned will be something both we and the government can take to improve for the future.”
East Sussex was allocated £535,000 from the first tranche of the emergency active travel fund and £1.82million from the second tranche.
While the first lot of funding was for more temporary measures, the second tranche has aimed to put in place more permanent measures to cement walking and cycling habits.
According to the update in the monitoring report: “The school street closure pilots adjacent to ten schools in the county have now concluded, the impacts will now be analysed to determine their potential application to other parts of East Sussex.
“The results of this will feed into the council’s local cycling and walking implementation plan, which we consulted on earlier in 2020/21, with the finalised plan scheduled to be formally considered in 2021/22.”