Zero rating blow for council’s travel plans - The Evesham Observer

Zero rating blow for council’s travel plans

Evesham Editorial 21st Oct, 2022   0

COUNCIL chiefs have been left red-faced after it received a ‘zero rating’ from Active Travel England – cutting the county off from receiving additional funding for cycling and walking routes.

Active Travel England is a Government inspectorate and funding body responsible for making walking, wheeling and cycling the preferred choice for everyone to get around by allocating funds to councils.

A rating of zero means an area has no local leadership or support for active travel, no plans in place, and only delivers lower complexity schemes. It means Worcestershire County Council could be barred from making any new bids for walking and cycling money.

The judgement has been strongly opposed by highways chiefs at Worcestershire County Council who have branded the Government’s decision as ‘disappointing’.

However, Mid Worcestershire Labour Party chair Alex Knudsen said the judgement was a ‘damning indictment’ of the highways and transport department and an ‘incredibly feeble legacy’ of successive Conservative administrations.

“This level of competence is unacceptable, and we are left wondering how the Conservative led County Council is managing our other local services,” he said.

“We call on the County Council to publish, as soon as is practicably possible, its revised vision for active travel in Worcestershire and illustrate the steps they will be taking to receive an improved rating from Active Travel England.

“The Labour Party in Mid Worcestershire would introduce cycle tracks to make cycling safer on the county’s roads, properly maintain pathways so these are accessible for everyone, work with bus companies to ensure there is space for bikes on more rural routes and increase cycle parking in areas where it is needed most.

Coun Mike Rouse, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “As a county council, we spend more than £20million per year on active travel measures.

“It is disappointing Active Travel England decided to override our fair and reasonable Level 1 and put us at Level 0 instead, potentially cutting us off from funding opportunities.

“I have written to the new Secretary of State at the Department for Transport to voice my concern at this assessment and I have invited her to come to Worcestershire to hear our plans and see the difference increased government funding could make to the county.”


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