BCP and Dorset Councils are celebrating after a joint bid has earned them an award of £79 million to transform sustainable travel options in Dorset.
A Plan to Protect the Environment
The award comes shortly after a recent update from BCP Council Leader Vikki Slade revealed that they plan to make the area carbon-neutral ahead of the UK 2050 deadline, and marks an important step towards their goal. She said: “This funding is huge and means we can create so many opportunities for how people access different travel and leisure options. With the climate emergency upon us, it’s vital that we give people new options to rethink how they get around, now and for the future.”
Better Travel Options for All
Statements from members of both councils indicate there will be increased focus on encouraging road users to consider other methods of travel that will decrease the impact of travel on the environment. Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure at BCP Council, Andy Hadley said: “The Transforming Cities project will enable us to make key transformations in our local transport options for people who travel by car, on foot, by bicycle or people with mobility assistance needs. As well as tackling congestion hotspots that create harmful emissions that blight the health of many people, we’ll be introducing a series of new, better-connected walking and cycling routes so that people can get around much more easily.”
Battling Traffic Congestion
The current road closures around Poole and Bournemouth in particular in recent weeks have caused a great deal of frustration to motorists, who will be pleased to learn that part of the funding will be directed to easing local congestion. Ray Bryan, the Dorset Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “Drivers will often bemoan congested roads and commutes taking longer, but there is no additional capacity to squeeze out of these busy routes – there are simply too many cars on the road. These transport infrastructure improvements will give residents a real choice in travel options and an opportunity to make a new travel plan for their journeys.”
What exactly are the plans looking to change?
Three bid options were submitted in line with the Department for Transport’s criteria. Each option was supported by partnership funding from key stakeholders that included Morebus, Beryl Bikes and Dorset Council. By working together, this transport partnership is aiming to:
- Create a series of transport corridors, improving bus, bicycle and walking routes, connecting homes to workplaces and linking children and other young people to education centres.
- Mirror these changes with larger and improved bicycle routes that will complement the transport corridors.
- Expand the local community bike share scheme.
- Make it possible for business and organisations to access grant funding to encourage more sustainable commutes to and from work.
- Review congestion hotspots for improvements that will speed up journey times and improve local air quality.
The scale of the project means there will be smaller, individual schemes that will be rolled out in various areas over the next 3 years, all aimed at improving transport links in the BCP area and its surrounds.