Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee

Agenda Item 86


Subject:                    Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)


Date of meeting:    15 March 2022


Report of:                 Executive Director Economy, Environment & Culture


Contact Officer:      Name: Laura Wells

                                    Tel: 01273 291028

                                    Email: laura.j.wells@brighton-hove.gov.uk


Ward(s) affected:   All


For general release


1.            Purpose of the report and policy context


1.1         In support of the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), the Department for Transport (DfT) has been encouraging local authorities to prepare a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) in order to take a more strategic approach to planning for active travel, and in order for councils to be better placed when applying for funding opportunities. 


1.2         Government released the ‘Gear Change’ vision document in July 2020 which sets out the national ambition to make walking and cycling the natural choice for short journeys, or as part of a longer journey. Accompanying this is Local Transport Note 1/20 (LTN 1/20) which sets out a step-change in how Local Authorities must deliver cycling improvements. To qualify for government funding, not only on active travel (walking, wheeling, cycling) schemes but all transport improvement schemes, Local Authority schemes must adhere to the design principles set out in LTN 1/20, which among other things sets out the need to design cycling improvements along direct routes and to physically separate cyclists from both traffic and pedestrians where possible on busy routes.


1.3         Work on Brighton & Hove’s LCWIP has been progressed over the last three years, involving stakeholder and public engagement. The city’s first LCWIP document is now presented to committee for approval, setting out  the strategic plans and ambitions for routes and areas in the city to be improved for active travel.


1.4         The LCWIP will be used as a basis for planning for improvements over the next ten years, and projects will be subject to full design and consultation when taken forward from the plan in future.






2.            Recommendations


2.1         That Committee agrees the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) (Appendix 2 to this report) as a basis for the strategic planning of active travel network improvements in the city over the next ten years.


2.2         That the Committee agrees that the cross-party Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) Member Working Group continues to operate in order to provide oversight of the delivery of the plan, with amended Terms of Reference brought to a future meeting of the Policy & Resources committee for approval.


3.            Context and background information


3.1         The DfT launched the CWIS in April 2017, this national strategy aims to double cycling levels by 2025, increase walking activity, reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI), and increase the percentage of school children walking to school.


3.2         Through the CWIS, Local Authorities have been strongly encouraged to prepare LCWIPs in order to take a strategic approach to planning for active travel infrastructure.


3.3         With the release of ‘Gear Change’ and LTN 1/20, government has taken a step-change in the approach to active travel infrastructure and the need for high quality improvements which are fit for purpose. Government funding grants are also linked to this, and improvements which do not meet these high standards will not be funded and/or funding already provided will need to be returned.


3.4         Government will be funding, reviewing and inspecting schemes through the new national commissioner and inspectorate, Active Travel England, launched on an interim basis in January 2022. DfT notes that Active Travel England will perform a similar role to Ofsted in terms of raising standards and challenging failure.


3.5         Through the development of the LCWIP and longer-term planning for active travel, the council needs to ensure provision of high-quality infrastructure which will assist in encouraging active travel journeys, meeting both local and national commitments and targets.


  Strategic need for the LCWIP


3.6         The LCWIP is a strategic plan which sits beneath the Local Transport Plan (LTP), a statutory document for the council. The council is in the process of producing its fifth LTP document, LTP5, and the consultation for the draft LCWIP document was also a consultation on the initial direction of travel for the LTP5 document.


3.7         To date there has not been a strategic plan for active travel improvements, and the development of LCWIPs, encouraged by government, aims to improve longer term planning for active travel infrastructure.


3.8         As the LCWIP is a strategic document, it sets out the principle of improvements to routes and areas of the city. The detail of projects will be subject to full design and consultation when taken forward from the plan. Therefore, there will be opportunity for all LCWIP schemes to take into account local feedback, context and constraints as they develop in conjunction with and are shaped by communities in future.


3.9         The draft LTP5 vision for the city is for ‘Better connected residents, businesses and visitors, for an improved quality of life in a healthy, inclusive and carbon neutral city.’ The LCWIP is one of the mechanisms through which this can be achieved, through the creation of better and healthier places in the city.


3.10      The LCWIP will assist in delivering key draft priority areas for the LTP5, including principally:

·         Create an inclusive and integrated transport system

·         Reduce car use

·         Develop streets and places that encourage and enable active travel

·         Increase public transport use


3.11      Improving routes and areas of the city is not simply about planning and designing for active travel; it is about planning for better, safer, healthier places as a whole, from which there are benefits for active travel and other forms of travel. Everyone uses the pedestrian environment at some point in their journey, therefore planning for active travel is essential, as well as multi-modal travel such as walking to the bus stop, walking from a disabled parking bay to a destination or cycling to the train station.


3.12      This joint approach to planning for active travel is reflected in government documents such as Gear Change and LTN 1/20, which recognise the synergies and mutual benefits for both walking and cycling; as well as the ‘Healthy Streets’ approach to street design, endorsed by DfT, the considerations for which are not specific to a mode of travel in particular, moreso the general benefits that can be gained for active and sustainable travel from broad improvements.


3.13      Within the LCWIP we have taken a joined-up approach to active travel by not referring to mode-specific areas / routes for improvement but setting out the principle for improvements at strategic and local level, which will benefit active travel as a whole (and other modes).


3.14      Local surveys have shown that people are concerned about road danger and cycle safety, and local pavement conditions.  By improving active travel facilities we can create healthier neighbourhoods where people want to walk and cycle, which helps to improve physical and mental wellbeing as well as create safer communities.  There is also a clear demand for transport measures that will create more liveable neighbourhoods for local residents and communities by reducing the volume and impacts of traffic.  The LCWIP will provide part of the basis for considering and prioritising such requests, in terms of where they are and how certain measures could assist in creating a safer environment for people to use active travel options.  


LCWIP development


3.15      The LCWIP was developed using the following stages:

·         Stage 1 – Determining scope

·         Stage 2 – Gathering information

·         Stages 3 & 4 – Network planning for active travel

·         Stage 5 – Prioritising improvements

·         Stage 6 – Integration and application


3.16      Further information on these stages and processes involved in these can be found in the LCWIP document (Appendix 2).  Further detail is included in the Technical Report produced to support the development of the LCWIP.  


4.            Analysis and consideration of alternative options


4.1         It is noted in the government’s LCWIP Technical Guidance that ‘‘While the preparation of LCWIPs is non-mandatory, LAs who have plans will be well placed to make the case for future investment.’ This means that Local Authorities who develop an LCWIP will likely be given more favoured treatment in future grant funding opportunities.


4.2         We have developed the LCWIP with stakeholder and public involvement, from which it is clear there is a need for improvements to active travel infrastructure in the city. Having the strategic LCWIP in place will ensure the city is in a much better position to realise ambitions for active travel and for future funding opportunities that arise. 


5.            Community engagement and consultation


Engagement and consultation – overview


5.1         Community and stakeholder engagement has taken place during the development of this plan, following the council’s Community Engagement Framework, at the following stages of the document’s development:

·         Gathering information stage – engagement with local and strategic stakeholders to understand key issues on the active travel network and suggestions for improvement

·         Network Planning for active travel stage – engagement with local and strategic stakeholders to review the emerging draft network

·         Prioritisation stage– engagement with strategic stakeholders to review draft prioritisation of improvements

·         Public consultation stage – public and stakeholder engagement on the draft LCWIP document


5.2         Full details of the public consultation and feedback are set out in the consultation report attached as Appendix 1 to this report.

5.3         A permanent Member Working Group has been in place for the development of the LCWIP document since January 2021.  Prior to this a Task & Finish Group was established.  This cross-party group of councillors has provided oversight to the development of the LCWIP document. At the January 2022 meeting of the group, it was agreed that the group would continue beyond the initial remit of the LCWIP document development, in order to have continued oversight of the LCWIP delivery. This will require a change to the Terms of Reference for the group to take the group’s remit beyond the document development. These Terms of Reference will be subject to approval at a future meeting of the council’s Policy & Resources committee.


Public consultation – summary


5.4         A public consultation was held by the council between 30 September and 15 November 2021, on both the draft LCWIP and the initial direction of travel document for the LTP5.


5.5         The consultation was promoted at local events, advertisements on bus stops and on council screens such as libraries, through the council’s website and social media, and by sending posters and information to various organisations and local stakeholder groups across the city.


5.6         Officers also worked with local interest groups and schools in the city, and staged an exhibition and public drop-in sessions in Jubilee Library, to obtain as wide a coverage as possible. Focus groups were also held with specific groups – younger people, older people, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people and disabled people.


5.7         An online survey was available on the council’s consultation portal, Citizen Space. Consultation documents were available to read online or via paper copies.


5.8         The summary of engagement activity during the consultation is as follows:

·         Approximately 250 people engaged via the four public events at Jubilee Library

·         Eight focus group sessions held, enabling more in-depth discussion of issues and feedback on proposals

·         Fourteen workshops / meetings with stakeholdersacross the city, from general workshops with stakeholders to attending meetings such as the Equalities & Inclusion Partnership, Quality Bus Partnership, Local Access Forum and the Destination Experience Group.  (A full list is available in Appendix 1)

·         Over 900 responses to the consultation survey – considered a very good response rate to an unsolicited consultation (ie information was not mailed directly to households)


5.9         Materials developed for the consultation included posters to promote the consultation, postcards to give out at events and to partners organisations, and paper copies of the consultation documents and questionnaire. Translations and large print / other formats of the documents were also available on request.

Public consultation – feedback


5.10      A wide range of feedback was gathered during the public consultation, via several consultation methods; the full details of which are set out in Appendix 1.


5.11      General themes arising from the consultation were as follows:

·         Good levels of support for progressing the LCWIP document generally

·         Support for better facilities for active travel

·         High levels of concern for issues such as climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion

·         Some confusion on the networks and how they joined up / the mutual benefits from improving routes for both walking and cycling

·         Poor condition of routes currently, obstructions and lack of enforcement:

·         Public transport fares can be expensive which makes it difficult to switch from travelling by car

·         High levels of dissatisfaction with the current walking and cycling environments in the city

·         Improvements to routes and areas identified in the LCWIP will make active travel journeys safer


Changes to LCWIP based on feedback and responses


5.12      As a result of the public consultation on the draft LCWIP, some changes were made to the document based on the balance of feedback. This is shown in the LCWIP document in Appendix 2 and includes the following changes:

·  Combining the network maps into a single network for active travel improvements

·  Further clarity in the document about the process and prioritisation of developing the network

·  Further mention of everyday issues and safety

·  New ‘What happens next’ section including reference to design documents which will be considered at the next stage of schemes

·  Information on the public consultation and relevant statistics / quotes from this (full consultation report is also provided, in Appendix 1)


5.13      Comments were also received on routes and areas in the LCWIP network.  Many of these were comments to be addressed at the detailed design stage rather than at this strategic stage and so will be utilised when  progressing future projects. Other comments related to the network, many of which are addressed by the combined network in the updated LCWIP document.


6.            Conclusion


6.1         The development of the city’s first LCWIP document is an important step in working towards realising council ambitions and commitments including Carbon Neutral 2030 and healthier and safer communities.


6.2         The LCWIP sets out the principle of active travel improvements on routes and in areas; specific improvement projects from these will be subject to further design, consultation and approval as they progress.


6.3         Having an LCWIP in place will mean the council is well placed when future funding opportunities arise, especially those from the Government.


7.            Financial implications


7.1         There are no direct financial implications associated with approving the LCWIP document (Appendix 2). Having an LCWIP in place will ensure the council is well placed when considering future funding opportunities eg from government grants.


7.2         The development of an LCWIP helps confirm to government that the council has a pipeline of strategic/priority locations for improvements that could be realised through existing and/or new capital funding available or allocated to local authorities.  This funding can include specific government grants which often have to be secured through a competitive bidding process within a limited timeframe, but which need to be of a sufficient level to deliver a comprehensive improvement that delivers value for money.    


7.3         Any relevant financial implications will be considered when individual schemes are brought forward for implementation.


Name of finance officer consulted: John Lack    Date consulted: 16/02/22):


8.            Legal implications


8.1       The LCWIP is not a statutory document and there are no direct legal implications associated with approving the document. Any relevant legal implications will be considered when individual schemes are brought forward for implementation.


Name of lawyer consulted: Hilary Woodward     Date consulted 16/2/22


9.            Equalities implications


9.1         Active travel infrastructure improvements will enhance the provision and choice for people to travel in and around the city, especially those with mobility difficulties or other disabilities, and will improve conditions for vulnerable road users. An Equalities Impact Assessment has been produced for the LCWIP and members of the Equalities and Inclusion Partnership received a presentation from officers on the plan.


9.2         The council must ensure that when schemes are designed, elements of a scheme do not discriminate, directly or indirectly, and must consider their duty to make reasonable adjustments anticipating the needs of those with protected characteristics. Schemes taken forward from the LCWIP will be subject to design and consultation, and Equalities Impact Assessments will be carried out.


10.         Sustainability implications


10.1      Improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure across Brighton and Hove will enable higher levels of active travel and reduce the attractiveness or need to travel by motorised transport. This will support meeting the council’s environmental objectives, including those set out in the emerging LTP5 and the Sustainable Community Strategy, such as a shift towards greater use of sustainable transport and reducing carbon emissions


11.         Other Implications


Social Value and procurement implications


11.1      There are no direct social value or procurement implications associated with the approval of the LCWIP document.  


Crime & disorder implications:


11.2      There are no direct crime and disorder implications associated with approval of the LCWIP document.


Public health implications:


11.3      Enabling greater uptake of active travel across the city will provide both long and short term benefits to the mental and physical health of our residents. This approach supports the implementation of the Brighton & Hove Health and Wellbeing Strategy.


Supporting Documentation


1.            Appendices


1.            Consultation Report

2.            Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), February 2022


2.            Background documents


1.        LCWIP Technical Report 

2.        Equalities Impact Assessment – LCWIP