Published on 18th March 2021
Cheltenham is a town with an aspiration to tackle the climate emergency, while benefitting the local economy and helping people live healthier lives.
Improved, inclusive transport options and healthy living are key parts of the council’s vision to make better connections across the borough.
Through the Connecting Cheltenham strategy, the borough council aims to:
- Develop the local transport network to put people first
- Prioritise walking and cycling for short trips as well as effective public transport for localised journeys
- Encourage a shift toward low carbon geographic connectivity (trains and vehicles) for longer journeys
- Deliver a step change in sustainable travel
Delivering this vision means working with other key stakeholders. A key partner is Gloucestershire County Council, who holds responsibility for highways and delivery of highways interventions across Gloucestershire. We are keen to work in partnership with the County Council to make this vision a reality. Other key stakeholders include GWR, Stagecoach, Cheltenham Cycle campaign, Vision 21 and Sustrans, on key projects involving cycling and walking routes, railways and roads.
A large proportion of the carbon emissions in Cheltenham are from transport. The projects we want to deliver will be a key driver towards achieving the council’s climate emergency commitment to become a net zero carbon council and borough by 2030.The initiatives we want to drive forward will contribute to a greener Cheltenham, contributing to a more sustainable Gloucestershire.
Councillor Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for climate and communities said: “Sustainable transport typically means people are healthier, happier and more productive at work. Crucially sustainable and active travel is better for the planet and nature too. Our climate emergency declaration means we must act now and the Connecting Cheltenham report shows that the borough council has a vision.
‘’However, we cannot deliver this vision alone and that’s why we have asked our partners at the county council and other stakeholders to work with us on outcomes that include; better bus services, improved bus routes and potentially a new bus station, a safe and direct cycle network, improved walking routes, work to extend the well-used Honeybourne Line and initiatives to stop rat-running and lower speed limits in residential areas.
Councillor Wilkinson continued: ‘’We have plans to make Cheltenham the cyber capital of the UK, ambitious post-covid economic recovery strategies and we are continuing our work to ensure every child thrives through the No Child Left Behind project. All of these initiatives however rely on strong connections between people, education, employment, health care and retail and leisure opportunities.
‘’Investing in sustainable transport will enable our communities and visitors to make personal choices about the way in which they travel. Thinking first about walking and cycling will make a big contribution to addressing the climate change emergency locally. Private transport is one of the world’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases, with emissions rising every year. In our car dominated urban areas having the right infrastructure that support us all in making transport choices will help us cut down the carbon footprint of our daily activities.’’
Councillor Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning for Gloucestershire County Council added: “Transport is responsible for around a third of Gloucestershire’s carbon emissions so we are always keen to work with partners to do as much as we can to reduce this. The county council has many initiatives in place already to improve transport in Cheltenham and beyond in our Local Transport Plan. From creating better cycle routes, the roll out of an e-scooter trial to piloting School Streets, and investing £22million in transport improvements in west Cheltenham, we passionately believe climate change is something we can tackle, but we must do it together.”
The Connecting Cheltenham strategy has been developed by working with residents, education, business, transport, health, and developer organisations, as well as local councillors.
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