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Agenda Item Committee: Cabinet Date: 29 January 2008 Title: Scrutiny review of cycling in East Sussex By: Director of Law and Personnel Purpose: To provide an opportunity for the Cabinet to comment on the report of the Transport and Environment Scrutiny Committee. RECOMMENDATION – To consider any comments the Cabinet wishes to make to the County Council on the report of the Transport and Environment Scrutiny Committee. 1. Background Information 1.1 The Transport and Environment Scrutiny Committee has completed its scrutiny review of cycling in East Sussex. 1.2 The Committee’s report will be submitted to the County Council on 12 February 2008 and a copy is attached. The Cabinet now has an opportunity to comment to the County Council on the recommendations in the Scrutiny Committee’s report. Elsewhere on the agenda is a report by the Director of Transport and Environment commenting on the Scrutiny Committee’s report and responding to the individual recommendations in an action plan. 1.3 Since the meeting of the Transport and Environment Scrutiny Committee on 27 November 2007, the five districts and boroughs in East Sussex have been asked if they wish to comment on the findings and recommendations of the scrutiny committee’s report. The only response received to date is from Wealden District Council which has no objection to the Board’s report and recommendations. Any remaining comments will be incorporated into the monitoring timetable for this review. ANDREW OGDEN Director of Law and Personnel Contact Officers: Paul Dean (01273 481751) Scrutiny Review of Cycling in East Sussex Report by the Project Board Councillor Richard Stogdon (Chairman) Councillor Jon Harris Councillor John Garvican November 2007 Transport and Environment Scrutiny Committee – 27 November 2007 Cabinet – 29 January 2008 Full Council – 12 February 2008 The report of the Scrutiny Review of Cycling in East Sussex Recommendations...................................................................................................................... 3 Overview ...................................................................................................................................... 5 Departmental roles and finance............................................................................................. 6 The 2003 Cycling Strategy for East Sussex.......................................................................... 7 Cycling and the Local Transport Plan 2 (LTP2) ....................................................................... 8 The East Sussex ‘balanced scorecard’.................................................................................. 9 Utility v. recreational cycling ................................................................................................ 10 The National Cycling Network (NCN) and L’Avenue Verte.................................................. 12 Cycling and other integrated transport and maintenance schemes..................................... 12 Safety and cycling .................................................................................................................... 14 Health and wellbeing benefits of cycling................................................................................ 14 Cycle training in schools ......................................................................................................... 15 Cycling and public transport ................................................................................................... 16 Cycle parking at railway stations......................................................................................... 16 Bicycles on trains.................................................................................................................. 17 Cycling promotion .................................................................................................................... 18 Other partnership possibilities................................................................................................ 18 Connect 2 ...............................................................................................................................18 Cycling England .................................................................................................................... 19 Appendix: Terms of reference, membership and evidence.................................................. 20 Scope and terms of reference of the review....................................................................... 20 Board Membership and project support ............................................................................. 20 Project Board meeting dates................................................................................................ 20 Witnesses providing evidence............................................................................................. 20 Evidence papers.................................................................................................................... 21 2 Recommendations Recommendation Page 1 The Board recommends that a revised Cycling Strategy for East Sussex should be 8 developed to: a) Send a clear, unambiguous message that sets out the Council’s direction and commitment to promoting cycling in all its forms, and the factors limiting what can be achieved. b) Explain the priorities that will be used to allocate funding to cycling through LTP capital funds which should support suitable and effective utility cycling schemes. c) Set out its aspirations for recreational cycling which will be dependent upon sourcing external funding and partner cooperation. d) Explain its policy regarding the priority schemes such as L’Avenue Verte or completion of sections of the National Cycling Network (NCN) through East Sussex and clarify the basis of future progress and funding for these schemes. e) Contain targets that are: clear; achievable yet challenging; carefully phrased to ensure public acceptability; and are within the power of the relevant organisation to achieve. f) Take into account and be compatible with other relevant policies, such as the East Sussex Active Living Strategy 2007-12. 2 When competing for LTP capital funds, cycling schemes should be judged fairly and 13 robustly against the LTP objectives in the balanced scorecard but without being given a negative weighting. This would allow high quality utility cycling schemes to come forward and compete effectively against other traffic and public transport schemes. 3 A £50,000 ‘cycling opportunity fund’ should be put forward annually as a project 13 within the balanced scorecard which, if successful, would enable a range of flexible, low cost responses to meet unanticipated but desirable utility cycling activities including: a) supplementing larger traffic and maintenance schemes to benefit cycling and walking (see page 12) b) joint funding of cycle parking for example with rail companies at key railway stations (see page 16) c) signing and reactive maintenance in conjunction with partners such as Sustrans (see page 9). 3 4 The Council should implement the Audit Commission recommendation to agree and 13 implement an audit regime for new highway and traffic schemes by taking a practical and tailored approach depending on the type and size of scheme, including: a) all transport scheme promoters and designers should be made aware of the need to cater for cyclists wherever possible; b) opportunities should be identified within repair and maintenance programmes to introduce cost effective cycling measures at marginal cost using the ‘cycling opportunity fund’ as required. The effectiveness of this approach would be measured by bringing a sample of successful scheme outcomes to Transport and Environment Scrutiny Committee during the monitoring period of this review. 5 That the scoring criteria used in the Balanced Scorecard assessment process be 15 refined to include explicit health benefits within the Local Transport Plan 2 objective ‘protect, promote and enhance the environment’. 6 Where schools that would benefit from cycle training are failing to identify staff or 16 time for training, the cycle training manager should take all possible action to try to encourage recalcitrant but otherwise ideally placed schools to take part by: a) Emphasising the benefits of cycling both to individual children and the wider community b) Engaging the help of local elected Members to use their influence c) Consider using monetary incentives if it is cost effective and affordable. 7 That Southern be requested to consider whether in the light of the impact of its policy 18 of banning cycles on certain rush hour services: a) it would be prepared to adopt a more selective approach towards banning the carriage of cycles on its trains, for example by limiting the policy to certain stations rather than a blanket ban for entire routes b) when considering the future operation of the Gatwick Express a cycle ban policy is not introduced this service c) it will negotiate with bicycle retailers to promote discounts on the purchase of new bicycles for its customers. 8 That opportunities to provide high quality cycle parking at rail stations across East 18 Sussex be explored fully in conjunction with Southern Rail with a view to implementation of facilities where possible. 9 That the Lead Member should consider carefully whether the Council should place a 19 bid for resources to create a demonstration site in East Sussex under Cycling England’s second phase of cycling demonstration towns within Bike for the Future 2 (2008 – 12). 4 Overview 1. Today’s transport challenge is to deliver efficient, cost effective mobility for ever greater volumes of people and goods whilst reducing the impact of transport on the environment. Cycling can make a significant contribution to reducing the impact of transport on the environment in the context of a predicted traffic growth in the UK of 20% between 2003 and 2015 with an associated extra 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) 1 . 2. Cycling is a unique activity in contributing to the accessibility of towns, villages, centres of employment and recreation; it can help to ease traffic congestion whilst saving CO2 and improving air quality; it helps promote and support economic and sustainable development and has a potentially major positive impact on public health. 3. The 2001 census shows that just 1.7% of the resident population in East Sussex travelled to work by bicycle compared with a national UK average of 2.9%. The highest proportion was in Eastbourne at 3.5% and the lowest in Wealden with just 1.1%. The counties with some of the highest percentages include Somerset (6.2%) and West Sussex (5.3%). In the UK 56% of all journeys by car are less than five miles and 23 per cent are less than two miles. A recent study found that the UK ranked 12th out of 15 European nations in terms of the average distance people cycle each year and 14th on distance walked. The proportion of primary school children taken to school by car has remained above 40% since 2002. 4. In recent years the County Council has undertaken various cycling initiatives with these highlights: • Off road multi-user routes such as Forest Way Country Park and the Cuckoo Trail provide extremely popular, predominantly recreational, opportunities for cycling. The cycle counters on the Cuckoo Trail indicated over 70,000 cycle trips in 2006 and it is estimated that at least as many walkers use the route. • The Ouse Estuary cycle track is proving extremely popular for utility trips; surveys indicate that the number of cycle trips between Newhaven and Seaford has gone up by approximately 200% since the opening of the route in 2005. • Highly successful and well used cycle maps in paper and on-line formats have been produced, along with a cycle ‘journey planner’, and have had to be re-printed. • The annual programme of guided cycle rides (Cycling East Sussex) attracts over 500 participants per annum and has been running for more than 10 years; events such as the East Sussex cycle and walks festival have also proved popular. • Initiatives, such as allowing cycling on Hastings promenade, have been successful but sensitivities have inevitably arisen amongst other users of the space, for example pedestrians, which have to be surmounted. 5. Less successful have been the following outcomes: • An Audit Commission inspection report on transport services in East Sussex (2004) considered that a lack of strong commitment to cycling had contributed to the very low level of cycling in the county, and that the cycling strategy target to evaluate all road schemes for their impact on cyclists had not been implemented. • Cycle routes have sometimes been built in the ‘easier’ sections and then suddenly come to a halt because of problems, typically, land ownership issues, lack of funding, engineering difficulties or a group opposed to a particular scheme. For example, a stretch of cycle way near Berwick, according to some local views, goes from “nowhere to nowhere else” and then “deposits cyclists in a dangerous manner back on to the main road”. 1 Cycling England publication, the Case for Cycling 5 • Unlike some other counties, there is no active county-wide cycling forum in East Sussex at present. 6. The views of all East Sussex parish and town councils on cycling were solicited during the early stages of this review. 20% of authorities contacted responded. Details of all the responses received are provided in a separate evidence pack and are, in most respects, consistent with the outcomes of national surveys and work being reported elsewhere. Additionally a county-wide public survey was undertaken which solicited a significantly higher response than was expected. 7. This report is therefore submitted as an interim report pending the analysis of the public consultation responses and consideration of the views of the five district and borough councils who are significant partners in determining the success of cycling initiatives. Departmental roles and finance 8. For several years until 2006/07, cycling activities fell within the responsibility of different teams within the Council’s Transport and Environment Department. A dedicated Cycling Officer, located in the Traffic and Safety Team, had an allocation of approximately £200,000 annually for cycling schemes from the Traffic & Safety element of the integrated transport capital programme. Officers in the Traffic and Safety and Countryside Management teams were responsible for cycle training in schools, promoting cycling activities amongst County Council staff and arranging cycle fairs and guided rides for the general public. 9. A restructuring, following the departure of the Cycling Officer in February 2007, provided a timely opportunity for Scrutiny to consider and comment upon the County Council’s approach to cycling and make recommendations to help inform a revised cycling strategy. 10. Until his departure, the Cycling Officer was responsible for coordinating a broad mix of strategic and operational work including: • Organising cycling activities and promotional work including route maps which have proved very popular. • Identifying and designing specific facilities including cycle routes and cycle parking. • Ensuring that cycling is taken into account in other transport schemes such as road safety projects and traffic calming through cycle audits. • Bidding for external funding such as Interreg 2 which dominated most of the Cycling Officer’s time. • Conducting feasibility studies for future schemes, mostly funded by Interreg. • Monitoring cycle usage across the county. 11. The Traffic and Safety Team now retains responsibility for cycle training and developing school travel plans but the strategic function for cycling has been relocated to the Transport Policy Team. Consequently, cycling is no longer considered a stand-alone activity with its own budget. Instead, cycling schemes are now required to compete against other LTP projects to secure LTP capital funding. To date, this has resulted in one cycling scheme being funded in this way: the Harbour Road scheme in Rye. 12. The Board considered the integration of cycling into transport strategy to be logical, especially as available resources in general for transport schemes are limited. Whilst there is no longer a Cycling Officer in the County Council, there are named officers with responsibility for cycle strategy and cycle training which is of critical importance for effective communication about future intentions on cycling with external partners and the public. 2 Interreg is a European funding programme that helps Europe’s regions form partnerships to work together on common projects. 6 13. The County Council’s integrated transport budget for 2007/08 amounted to approximately £4m in support of the East Sussex Local Transport Plan 2 (2006 – 11). Of this approximately £1.3m was allocated to Traffic and Safety, and £2.7m to Transport Strategy for implementation of integrated transport schemes through Local Area Transport Strategies (LATS). The setting aside of this £1.3m for safety schemes reflects the high priority assigned to road safety by the County Council. 14. Bidding for external funding, in particular Interreg, is a highly labour-intensive process. Furthermore, most grants require match funding by the County Council or other partners that, despite the value-for-money such grants infer, still adds a significant pressure to existing budgets. 15. Attracting external funds for cycling in East Sussex has been successful in recent years with Interreg being the main source. This has funded a mix of schemes and has delivered route and feasibility studies on future schemes that could be implemented should additional funding become available. In many cases, additional funding has not yet become available to realise these expensive schemes on the ground. 16. There is no current funding emerging from Interreg although opportunities for future projects are being considered. Most notably, the County Council in partnership with French and English authorities is in the early stages of developing a bid to the new ‘Interreg 4a’ programme for the L’Avenue Verte Paris to London cycle route. The 2003 Cycling Strategy for East Sussex 17. The Local Transport Plan includes a Cycling Strategy alongside other modal strategies such as passenger transport and walking. The Cycling Strategy was produced in 2003 to support the broader objectives contained within the Plan. 18. It is clear with the benefit of hindsight that the 2003 Cycling Strategy was over ambitious and backed by insufficient resources. Of the 14 targets within the strategy, seven have not been achieved; six have been achieved only in part, and just one target has been met and, in fact, exceeded. The successful target relates to the securing of external funding against a target of £500,000 by 2008. 19. Until 2007/08, the system of prioritising cycling schemes lacked the rigour of assessment of effectiveness that other integrated transport schemes had to undergo. The Board accepts that increasing cycling in general will result in a range of health and environmental benefits and is therefore worthy of promotion in its own right. However, without significantly more resources than are currently available, it is essential for the County Council to prioritise potential cycling schemes based on a better understanding of the likely benefits. To achieve this will also require greater clarity in the future cycling strategy about the relative importance of utility and recreational cycling (see page 10). 20. In 1996, the government set a target to quadruple the amount of cycling by 2012 and this target was included in the Strategy. The target was abandoned by the Government in 2004 because it was deemed unlikely to be met. Indeed, cycling levels have fallen over the last 10 years in UK with just isolated locations where cycling has increased. 21. Currently, local highway authorities now are required to define ‘challenging and achievable’ core and local targets for their local transport plans. The East Sussex LTP2 contains a mandatory target and a local target on cycling, measured using 14 automatic cycle counters. The targets together with current progress is shown in the following table: 7 Indicator Target Progress 1. Cycling trips – Increase the level of cycling trips in East Sussex From a base of 100 in 2005/06, the national to an annualised index of 130 by 2015/16 the number of cycling trips has mandatory compared with a 2004/05 annualised index of fallen by 10%. indicator 100, with an intermediate target of 115 by 2010/11. 2. Cycling trips – Increase the level of cycling trips in Greater From a base of 100 in 2005/06, a locally set Eastbourne/Bexhill and Hastings areas to an the number of cycling trips in indicator annualised index of 165 by 2015/16 compared these areas has fallen by 12%. with a 2004/05 annualised index of 100, with an intermediate target of 130 by 2010. 22. There is no readily available comparative data against other local authorities for these indicators. Furthermore, the data in isolation does not explain why cycling trips are decreasing nor whether the trips counted are recreational or utility. To help address these questions will require further research and the analysis of the public questionnaire responses carried out as part of this review. Recommendation 1. The Board recommends that a revised Cycling Strategy for East Sussex should be developed to: a) Send a clear, unambiguous message that sets out the Council’s direction and commitment to promoting cycling in all its forms, and the factors limiting what can be achieved. b) Explain the priorities that will be used to allocate funding to cycling through LTP capital funds which should support suitable and effective utility cycling schemes. c) Set out its aspirations for recreational cycling which will be dependent upon sourcing external funding and partner cooperation. d) Explain its policy regarding the priority schemes such as L’Avenue Verte or completion of sections of the National Cycling Network (NCN) through East Sussex and clarify the basis of future progress and funding for these schemes. e) Contain targets that are: clear; achievable yet challenging; carefully phrased to ensure public acceptability; and are within the power of the relevant organisation to achieve. f) Take into account and be compatible with other relevant policies, such as the East Sussex Active Living Strategy 2007-12. Cycling and the Local Transport Plan 2 (LTP2) 23. The Local Transport Plan 2 (LTP2) is a statutory document covering the period 2006-11. It states how East Sussex will deliver the national and local Government shared priorities for transport – tackling congestion, delivering accessibility, safer roads, better air quality and other quality of life issues. 24. There is an increasing amount of research emerging from UK and the rest of Europe to demonstrate that promoting utility cycling alongside with other key transport and traffic policies does play a significant part in reducing traffic congestion as well as increasing the accessibility of employment and facilities, improving environmental quality, and increasing safety. 8 25. It will take time in the UK, but towns, such as Groningen in the Netherlands, have achieved a bicycle use rate of 40% only by developing a range of policies over 30 years. They started by blending spatial planning policies bringing together living, working and shopping functions and gradually favouring pedestrians, cyclists and public transport rather than cars. 26. Given the timescales needed for successful outcomes and working within a climate of limited financial resources, the lessons from elsewhere in UK suggest that it is important to prioritise resources carefully for maximum effect. Targeting resources into a small number of areas, routes or towns, together with effective monitoring, is likely to produce greater benefits and achievement of targets than trying to spread the resources too thinly over many areas or where cycling is less likely to be successful. Less successful areas for cycling promotion might be either because of the geography, demographics or because there is little local interest or desire. The East Sussex ‘balanced scorecard’ 27. The ‘balanced scorecard’ approach was commended by the Audit Commission following the Best Value Review of Transport in 2004. It enables many different types of transport scheme to be compared and scored against the following LTP2 objectives: • Improve access to services • Manage demand and reduce the need to travel • Improve road safety and reduce fear of crime • Reduce congestion / improve network efficiency • Protect, promote and enhance the environment • Improve maintenance and management of the transport network. 28. The total score for each scheme is divided by the cost of the scheme to give a value for money ratio which is then used as a guide by a Member panel annually to prioritise the schemes within a three year rolling programme. This process helps to ensure that capital funding for integrated transport schemes is targeted at those schemes best able to meet the LTP objectives. Importantly, the scorecard was introduced to increase the accountability and public transparency of transport scheme selection where many worthy schemes are competing for a very limited pot of money. 29. Until 2006/07, a number of corporate portfolio steers were also included in the balanced scorecard. However, it proved too difficult to judge the specific contribution of transport schemes towards objectives such as “raising economic performance” or “improving services to older people”. Consequently, the balanced scorecard now focuses on providing a realistic and fair comparison of the different schemes based on contributions to the LTP2 objectives. The Board endorsed this simplification of the scorecard noting that it remains flexible enough to respond to changing requirements and evolving Council policy steers. 30. Schemes that tend to score highly on the balanced scorecard are those that reduce traffic volume and congestion particularly at peak times and in the most cost effective way. In general, such schemes aim to achieve a ‘modal shift’ from peak hour private car use to either public transport or walking and cycling. As well as utility cycling schemes, these types of scheme include: bus infrastructure (particularly bus lanes), public transport interchanges; local road improvement schemes; parking schemes and local traffic management. 31. Walking schemes and cycling schemes are often closely linked and tend to benefit both groups. Small scale improvement for cyclists can also ride on the back of larger infrastructural projects, traffic management or traffic safety schemes. Many schemes within the balanced scorecard include elements that are likely to benefit cycling; urban bus lanes in particular cater for cyclists as well as buses (see paragraph 50). 9 32. A cycling scheme that would merely increase the number of cycle journeys, such as building a recreational cycling route, will score badly under the balanced scorecard. For this reason, completing recreational sections of the national cycling network routes within East Sussex would not emerge as priorities under the balanced scorecard and would need to be funded from elsewhere if they are to proceed. 33. During the 2006/07 Reconciling Policy & Resources (RP&R) process, additional Council policy steers emerged, the effects of which were incorporated into the balanced scorecard. The absence of cycling as a clear policy steer resulted in the ‘downgrading’ of each cycling scheme by one point compared to all other non specific cycling schemes. The basis for this downgrading has emerged from various sources, most specifically a public consultation exercise carried out in 2004 3 which suggested that there was a public view that utility cycling should be afforded a lower priority than other kinds of integrated transport initiatives. 34. The Board considers that due to a combination of circumstances, a negative bias towards all cycling schemes has evolved within the culture of the County Council. This is due to the way in which proposed cycling schemes have emerged over recent years, the distortions caused by the earlier funding regime, together with some negative outcomes. This has left a misleading perception that cycling schemes per se are expensive, represent poor value for money and benefit only a minority. Until now, little attempt has been made to identify a range of cost effective cycling schemes that will effectively hit a range of important transport targets, not to mention the broader health, economic and environmental benefits. 35. The Board considers therefore that the negative weighting of cycling schemes within the balanced scorecard should stop. This crude approach has the effect of excluding potential utility cycling schemes that could play a major role in achieving LTP2 objectives and bringing about other significant long term benefits. Also, presenting the policy steer in this way sends out a public message that the County Council is not committed to cycling, a message with which the Board is uncomfortable (see recommendation 2). 36. One further problem with the balanced scorecard process is its inability to deal with immediate, low cost flexible and responsive measures (see recommendation 3). Evidence presented to the Board suggests that it may be sometimes beneficial to provide: • low cost supplements supporting cycling measures on the back of larger schemes; for example, ‘dropped kerbs’ that would add cycling and walking benefits economically to other traffic schemes • provision of secure cycle parking where there will be a clear and immediate benefit; for example Southern Rail has requested a £5,000 contribution (a third of the cost) to extend secure cycle parking at Lewes station • cycle route signing – new or for repairs in conjunction with Sustrans • ‘reactive’ cycle route maintenance. Utility v. recreational cycling 37. Encouraging bicycle use cannot be seen as an isolated objective for East Sussex County Council. Whilst cycling in general confers considerable health benefits (see page 14), the distinction between utility cycling and recreational cycling becomes important in helping to decide how best to prioritise resources: 3 Jointly commissioned by Scrutiny and the Transport and Environment Department (Best Value Review of Transport in East Sussex – 2004) 10 • Utility cycling is cycling done simply as a means of transportation; it includes commuting, going to school or college, delivering goods and services and shopping. It generally involves travelling short and medium distances of just a few miles. Utility cycling schemes, if carefully planned and implemented, help to meet LTP objectives. • Recreational cycling is cycling primarily done for fitness, touring, sport or fun. It can involve considerably longer journeys than utility cycling. Recreational cycling schemes are better geared towards meeting tourism and associated economic development objectives. 38. Sustrans does not recommend separating utility and recreational cycling in policy terms. This is partly because there is usually an overlap of purpose within individual schemes making it hard to separate these elements; also, increasing cycling per se is considered to be an important and valid aim in its own right. Promoting recreational cycling, they argue, also leads to individuals making a “lifestyle choice” and subsequently taking up utility cycling. However, whilst such a link may seem intuitive, not all observers are confident about the evidence to support it. 39. From the consultation exercise, East Sussex parish and town councils recognise the benefits of both types of cycling but on balance there is more support for prioritising utility cycling in areas where it is likely to be effective. Some parish councils took particular exception to the high costs of building some recreational cycle routes, particularly those that involve buying land, when there are other competing priorities such as education and adult social care services facing the County Council. 40. Cycling England fully recognises the financial predicament of most local authorities and therefore considers it important for authorities to assess carefully the contribution every potential cycling scheme makes towards the different LTP and relevant wider objectives, such as health promotion. 41. The Board considers that introducing more cycling schemes and changing policies to increase cycling in general will result in a wide range of potential transport and public health benefits. However, priorities have to be carefully managed within the LTP capital budget and so it is important to be clear about the impact each proposed cycling scheme is likely to have on LTP targets so that comparisons with other types of integrated transport scheme within the balanced scorecard can be made fairly. 42. Over recent years the significant level of external funding available to East Sussex for recreational schemes (through Interreg and Sustrans funding for example) has led to the Council match funding some expensive recreational cycling schemes in East Sussex which have not contributed to meeting LTP objectives such as reducing peak hour congestion. On the one hand the LTP highlights the value of utility cycling, but historically there has been an emphasis on recreational schemes because of the tempting ‘carrot’ of external match funding. 43. The Board considers that the County Council should therefore stop seeking external financial support for recreational cycling schemes requiring match funding by the Council unless a suitable source of finance is identified beforehand (recommendation 1c). In particular, where match funding for a cycling scheme is expected to come from LTP capital funds then the scheme should contribute effectively towards LTP targets. This principle should also apply to the acceptance of developer contributions towards cycle schemes. 44. Soliciting widespread local approval, let alone financial support, for many cycling schemes to meet recreational objectives is going to be difficult in many parts of the county. It will require considerable leadership and committed individuals to ‘champion’ the cause in local communities. However, benefits in the long run often emerge against initial opposition. For example, early proposals for the Cuckoo Trail were not welcomed locally but today it is inconceivable that this track could be withdrawn given its current enormous popularity. The role of effective leadership and cycling promotional activity by the County Council will be critical in bringing about active support for local cycling schemes in many areas. 11 The National Cycling Network (NCN) and L’Avenue Verte 45. Some of the larger or flagship schemes such as the NCN routes and L’Avenue Verte comprise a complex mixture of mostly recreational and some utility sections. The NCN2 in East Sussex is the east-west route and much of this passes through the densely populated coastal towns and therefore does meet the utility criteria. NCN21 by contrast, the north-south route, is predominantly recreational particularly in the northern part of the county. These routes are expensive schemes to complete in full and to the highest standard. They often involve the construction of costly off-road routes with associated land acquisition costs. 46. Evidence from elsewhere in the UK suggests that some county councils are considerably more focussed in prioritising the funding of cycling schemes towards meeting LTP targets. The success of this policy is reflected in the much higher percentage of utility cycle journeys achieved. Such an approach places recreational cycling at an aspirational level, with implementation dependent upon support from a range of other partners including local communities, district and town councils and those with an interest in economic development and promoting tourism. For NCN routes this means strictly prioritising only those sections that meet the Council’s objectives. 47. The Board considers that funding for cycling schemes of a predominantly recreational nature would not score highly within the balanced scorecard in East Sussex and therefore would not be funded from LTP capital funds. Such schemes would remain aspirational but ready for implementation should additional funds become available. Cycling and other integrated transport and maintenance schemes 48. In addition to the schemes within the balanced scorecard, the County Council undertakes a range of other traffic management activities including safety schemes, and repair and maintenance programmes. The Board seeks to ensure that full advantage is being taken to include cycling measures, especially those that could be added in at marginal or no additional cost, on the back of other schemes. 49. A scrutiny review on urban speed limits in East Sussex (March 2006) recommended a pilot scheme of street furniture de-cluttering, creative road signing and ‘shared space’ principles as part of the introduction of the Lewes 20mph zone. The principles behind these proposals are entirely consistent with promoting safety for all road users including cyclists and pedestrians. The Board is concerned that this scheme has not progressed on the basis envisaged by the earlier scrutiny review because the benefits for cyclists are not yet being realised. 50. A 2003 Cycling Strategy target was: To agree and implement an audit regime for new highway and traffic schemes by the end of 2004. The Audit Commission in its inspection report on transport services in East Sussex (2004) recommended that the Council should demonstrate a commitment to utility cycling by carrying out cycling audits of all types of new traffic scheme as proposed in the Cycling Strategy. It is unclear why this recommendation has not been implemented, albeit cost is the stated reason. There does not appear to be clear understanding as to what is meant by “cycling audit”. However, a practical ‘horses for courses’ compromise ought to be possible at minimal cost. 51. Larger integrated traffic and safety schemes are already assessed for cycling safety during their safety audit. However, this process may not lead to suggestions for improvements that might benefit cyclists. It is acknowledged that it would be a labour intensive task for an individual and therefore far more resource efficient if, as a starting point, all scheme promoters and designers could be made aware of the need to cater for cyclists wherever possible. 12 52. Repair and maintenance schemes are less likely to be identified as being suitable for introducing cycling features because to do so would require a design stage that would not otherwise be part of a scheme’s plan. Attempting to add cycling elements to maintenance schemes would also require care to ensure that cycling schemes are not seen to emerge in a piecemeal way. Nonetheless, opportunities may be being missed to introduce cost effective cycling measures on the back of planned maintenance programmes. For example: • road resurfacing where cycle friendly measures could be improved or introduced at marginal cost • simple road space re-allocation measures such as the introduction of advisory cycle lanes on roads of sufficient width during renewal of existing markings • introduction of ‘advanced stop lines’ during traffic signal reconfiguration. 53. To best achieve this will require a “cycling opportunity fund” as part of the LTP capital programme as described in recommendation 3. Recommendation 2. When competing for LTP capital funds, cycling schemes should be judged fairly and robustly against the LTP objectives in the balanced scorecard but without being given a negative weighting. This would allow high quality utility cycling schemes to come forward and compete effectively against other traffic and public transport schemes. Recommendation 3. A £50,000 ‘cycling opportunity fund’ should be put forward annually as a project within the balanced scorecard which, if successful, would enable a range of flexible, low cost responses to meet unanticipated but desirable utility cycling activities including: a) supplementing larger traffic and maintenance schemes to benefit cycling and walking (page 12) b) joint funding of cycle parking for example with rail companies at key railway stations (page 16) c) signing and reactive maintenance in conjunction with partners such as Sustrans (page 9). Recommendation 4. The Council should implement the Audit Commission recommendation to agree and implement an audit regime for new highway and traffic schemes by taking a practical and tailored approach depending on the type and size of scheme, including: a) all transport scheme promoters and designers should be made aware of the need to cater for cyclists wherever possible; b) opportunities should be identified within repair and maintenance programmes to introduce cost effective cycling measures at marginal cost using the ‘cycling opportunity fund’ as required. The effectiveness of this approach would be measured by bringing a sample of successful scheme outcomes to Transport and Environment Scrutiny Committee during the monitoring period of this review. 13 Safety and cycling 54. Evidence from the consultation conducted during this review and from national sources conclusively demonstrate that fear about safety on the road is the most significant factor in deterring the take up of cycling. And yet, data from London over the past ten years shows a falling number of cyclists killed and injured with an increasing number of cycle trips. Similar results have been found in other countries in a variety of situations suggesting that increased cycling does not necessarily increase the number of fatal or serious injuries and may contribute to a reduction. In 2000, a total of 125 adults and children were killed in the UK whilst cycling. By contrast, 125,000 people died in the same year from coronary heart disease of which 45,000 were due to lack of activity (National Cycling Strategy, 2003) 55. The majority of parish and town councils responding to the consultation strongly highlighted various dangers of cycling. In order to overcome the dangers, they acknowledged that significant resources will have to be spent on solutions including: more designated ‘quiet lanes’, lower speed limits and identifying and publicising a network of suitable routes. The question of whether to separate or integrate cyclists into general traffic is disputed with opposing views being represented. Health and wellbeing benefits of cycling 56. The health benefits are likely to be a key ‘selling point’ in building local support for recreational cycling schemes and in influencing individuals to take up utility cycling. Evidence to support the fact that physical exercise in general and cycling in particular is good for people’s health and wellbeing abounds, with many recent attempts having been made to quantify the benefits in monetary terms. Evidence, particularly for East Sussex, is summarised in the draft East Sussex Active Living and Action Plan 2007 – 12. 57. The evidence presented to the Board by public health professionals also suggests that: • The benefits 4 gained from regular cycling outweigh the loss of life years through cycling fatalities by a factor of about 20 to 1. • There are multiple wellbeing benefits of getting more people cycling including: reduced costs to the NHS; improved work productivity; improved physical and mental wellbeing; improved air quality; reduced noise pollution; a positive impact on climate change. • In particular, a major trend over the past twenty years has been the growing threat of widespread obesity. The numbers of clinically obese adults have increased threefold in the UK between 1980 and 2002. Levels of overweight children in England are high and rising; in 2003, 32% of boys and 28% of girls aged 2-15 years were overweight and 17% of boys and 16% of girls aged 2-15 were obese 5 . 58. LTP2 contains a number of key themes and initiatives from the ‘Choosing Health’ (2004) White Paper which will influence the delivery of LTP2 objectives. This includes ‘increasing exercise – in order to reduce the risk of major chronic diseases and premature death’. The LTP2 seeks to encourage greater levels of walking and cycling which will contribute to the objectives to ‘manage demand and reduce the need to travel by car’ as well as ‘protecting the local environment’. 4 ‘Valuing the Benefits of Cycling’ (June 2007) – research commissioned by Cycling England 5 ‘Valuing the Benefits of Cycling’ (June 2007) – research commissioned by Cycling England 14 59. It takes an enormous act of will and determination for many people to decide to cycle to work instead of taking the car. Once the safety and other fears are overcome, the benefits become very evident. There is now powerful quantifiable evidence backing the health and wellbeing benefits of cycling and these benefits fall within the influence of LTP2. The Board concluded therefore that health benefits should be incorporated more explicitly into the balanced scorecard objectives than is currently the case. The Board recommends achieving this by simply increasing the prominence given to health benefits within the already existing LTP objective of ‘protect, promote and enhance the environment’. Recommendation 5. That the scoring criteria used in the Balanced Scorecard assessment process be refined to include explicit health benefits within the Local Transport Plan 2 objective ‘protect, promote and enhance the environment’. Cycle training in schools Less than 2% of East Sussex pupils currently cycle to school; surveys suggest that more than 35% would like to cycle if it were practicable to do so 60. The considerable benefit of cycle training in schools is self evident and the Board wholly supports such training programmes, especially where there is the real possibility of dramatically increasing the number of pupils cycling to and from school. The success of school cycle training in East Sussex is evident not only in terms of the increase in numbers of pupils cycling after being trained, but there are significant safety benefits too. Research demonstrates conclusively that proper cycle training of school age children leads to much safer cyclists and even, according to research from Denmark, to those cyclists going on to become safer car drivers. 61. In 2007/08 there is a £35,000 budget for cycle training in East Sussex schools which supports twelve cycle trainers, nine of whom are trained to the new national standard. In 2006/07, 54% of 10-12 year olds in the county completed cycle training. Parents/carers are charged £16 per child and 7% of parents/carers receive the training free of charge. The cost of providing the training to each child is £31 (2006/07). 62. Training takes place in 123 out of the County’s 143 primary schools. The thoughtful combination of cycle training and associated initiatives such as provision of secure cycle parking has resulted in dramatic increases in the number of school cycle journeys in some areas. 63. The training team have adopted a ‘pushing against an open door’ approach in order to make the limited resources stretch as far as possible to achieve the maximum levels of training. Whilst the location and environment surrounding the school is important in determining whether cycling is generally feasible and seen as being safe, the most successful improvements have been in those schools that have fully committed to the scheme by identifying a member of staff to champion the initiative and by providing the time and encouragement for the training to take place. This input from the schools’ side is critical in enabling the trainers to be as efficient and effective as possible in delivering the training. 64. Unfortunately, some schools which would have been ideally suited in other respects do not have the higher levels of commitment apparent elsewhere and have therefore not benefited from the offer of training. The Board considered that all possible encouragement should be directed at those schools to participate fully, including informing local Members so that they can use their influence to try to improve the schools’ commitment to cycle training. 15 Recommendation 6. Where schools that would benefit from cycle training are failing to identify staff or time for training, the cycle training manager should take all possible action to try to encourage recalcitrant but otherwise ideally placed schools to take part by: a) Emphasising the benefits of cycling both to individual children and the wider community b) Engaging the help of local elected Members to use their influence c) Consider using monetary incentives if it is cost effective and affordable. Cycling and public transport 65. The external liaison manager from Southern attended a Board meeting to discuss issues around cycles and trains. It was apparent that relations between the County Council and Southern are extremely positive suggesting that significant progress in joint working could be made on a number of fronts. Both parties also recognise that there are a number of shared priorities. Cycle parking at railway stations 66. Utility cycling is based upon the notion of the right mode of transport for the right job. For many commuters, a journey would consist of a short journey to a railway station followed by a train journey. The home to station journey is a key target for modal shift from cars to cycling or walking and a key issue is the provision of sufficient, safe cycle parking facilities at railway stations. Excessive levels of car parking around rail stations is also a problem and one that the Council is attempting to address through demand management measures such as the introduction of parking controls on nearby roads. 67. Southern has created five centres of excellence for cycle facilities in its region. These are at: Haywards Heath, Three Bridges, Barnham, Dorking and Ashtead. Parking facilities in these stations have ramps and are covered by CCTV and adequate lighting to ensure access and safety. 1,400 cycle parking spaces have been created at the region’s railway stations over the last three years. The strategy has worked resulting in fewer derelict bicycles, reduced vandalism and increased demand and usage of parking places. Cycle park at Ashtead train station, Surrey – a Southern cycle centre of excellence. 16 68. In East Sussex stations, cycle parking facilities are not as advanced. For example Eastbourne has just 20 places and Lewes 60 in the form of uncovered Sheffield stands. Through joint working it is anticipated that Lewes station will become the first centre of excellence in East Sussex by expanding cycle parking provision and installing the safety features that have been so important to success in other stations. Work is also scheduled to start on the introduction of a facility at Hampden Park with a significant opportunity at Newhaven Town station yet to be fully explored. 69. The Southern representative suggested that opportunities for the introduction of cycle parking at numerous other rail stations in East Sussex may exist and funding is available to implement these if match funding can be made available by the County Council. 70. To assist progress in East Sussex the Board considered that relatively small sums of money might be needed to joint fund beneficial projects that would assist achievement of LTP objectives. The opportunity fund at recommendation 3 (page 13) would provide the required flexibility and is strongly endorsed by the Board as a means to extend cycle parking provision in the county’s railway stations. Bicycles on trains 71. The question of allowing bicycles on trains suddenly became controversial in the local region when Southern introduced its policy of banning bicycles, except folding bikes, on certain rush hour trains in early 2006. The move prompted widespread public objection and high profile protests at the stations affected. Several parish councils in their response to the Board’s consultation continue to voice opposition to this policy and regard it as a barrier to fully developing maximum take up of cycling. 72. On the face of it, restricting the carriage of bicycles on trains impedes the ability of the County Council to achieve its utility cycling policies. Concerns about this policy have been voiced nationally and it is particularly seen as a problem in London where cycling is viewed as an important means of relieving congestion on public transport. 73. However, Southern argues that its policy is needed because more people are now travelling on its trains, especially during the rush hour, and bicycles at peak times cause service delays and discomfort to other passengers. Southern has recently acquired the contract for the Gatwick Express service which currently permits bicycles on all services. No decision has yet been made about any changes to this service including the cycle carrying policy. 74. Southern argues that there are alternatives for people needing to cycle at both ends of a train journey. In other parts of Europe it is becoming increasing common for people to have a bicycle at each end, but this requires increasing the provision of safe parking at stations. Also folding bikes are permitted on all trains at all times of day. Both these solutions are more expensive for individuals affected and some train companies have negotiated discounts on new bikes for their customers with bicycle retailers. 75. The evidence to the Board suggested that other train companies operating in the region have a more flexible approach to carrying bicycles by limiting the ban to certain sections of routes, rather than a blanket ban on the entire length of a route at peak times. 17 Recommendation 7. That Southern be requested to consider whether in the light of the impact of its policy of banning cycles on certain rush hour services: a) it would be prepared to adopt a more selective approach towards banning the carriage of cycles on its trains, for example by limiting the policy to certain stations rather than a blanket ban for entire routes b) when considering the future operation of the Gatwick Express a cycle ban policy is not introduced this service c) it will negotiate with bicycle retailers to promote discounts on the purchase of new bicycles for its customers. Recommendation 8. That opportunities to provide high quality cycle parking at rail stations across East Sussex be explored fully in conjunction with Southern Rail with a view to implementation of facilities where possible. Cycling promotion 76. The Board acknowledged that cycling promotion must work effectively alongside policies on infrastructure improvement if significant increases in utility cycling journeys are ever to be achieved. The Transport and Environment department runs various cycling promotion activities from producing well-used written and online cycling route guides to running cycle days and guided cycle rides for the public and cycle-to-work days for Council employees. However, most of the responses from parish councils’ consultation suggest that there is a general lack of awareness of County Council cycle promotion activities apart from initiatives in schools. 77. The timescale and terms of reference of this review has meant that the Board did not investigate this area of cycling activity but recognises that there are questions to be addressed about the Council’s approach to promotion. These will be addressed during the monitoring stages of this review when the results of the public consultation exercise are available. Other partnership possibilities Connect 2 78. In June 2005 the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and ITV announced a competition to find the winner of a £50 million National Lottery grant. Entries needed to be “groundbreaking projects that would inspire communities to revitalise the areas where they live”. Connect 2 is a national scheme coordinated by Sustrans which consists of 79 local walking and cycling schemes and is competing with three other organisations for the £50 million grant. 79. The Bexhill – Hastings Coastal Connection is included within the Connect2 project and if successful the County Council would receive £380,000 towards implementation of the scheme. 18 Cycling England 80. Cycling England is the national body which coordinates the development of cycling across England; its aim is to get more people cycling, more safely, more often. So far it has promoted six cycling demonstration towns to lead the way in encouraging cycling across England within a programme called Bike for the Future. The towns selected were: Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster. Each town receives a grant of £500,000 per year for five years to implement cycling related infrastructure with a view to increasing levels of cycling and improving cyclist safety. East Sussex did not apply to become one of the demonstration towns in the first round. 81. Cycling England has applied to the Government to develop a second phase of demonstration towns which could include smaller market towns. The County Council should consider carefully whether it wishes to bid for resources to create a demonstration site in East Sussex under Bike for the Future 2 (2008 – 12). Competition across England is likely to be tough given the large numbers of authorities which submitted applications for the first round. To stand a chance of success is likely to require a demonstrable Council commitment to taking the projects forward with a shared coherent vision across the different tiers of local government, together with public support. Recommendation 9. That the Lead Member should consider carefully whether the Council should place a bid for resources to create a demonstration site in East Sussex under Cycling England’s second phase of cycling demonstration towns within Bike for the Future 2 (2008 – 12). 19 Appendix: Terms of reference, membership and evidence Scope and terms of reference of the review The Review was established to consider and make recommendations on the following: a) How cycling can contribute to achieving Local Transport Plan (LTP2) and other wider objectives including an assessment of the extent to which the 2003 Cycling Strategy objectives and associated targets have been achieved, amended or not achieved, and the reasons behind this. b) The extent to which the Council’s current cycling priorities are expressed within the Cycling Strategy, and Council Plan, especially in the context of limited resources. c) The overall effectiveness of promoting cycling in East Sussex, including the role played by partners. d) The balance of priority between utility and recreational cycling – actual and desired. e) The priority the Council attaches to national schemes such as the National Cycle Network (NCN). f) How best to integrate cycling measures into integrated transport schemes. g) The prioritisation and funding of cycling schemes; particularly how to acquire greater external funding for cycling and tackling issues around match funding and Council revenue budget limitations. 8. The scope for improved partnership working. Board Membership and project support Review Board Members: Councillor Richard Stogdon (Chairman), Councillor Jon Harris and Councillor John Garvican. The Project Manager was Paul Dean (Scrutiny Manager) with logistics and support being provided by Sam White (Scrutiny Support Officer). Colin Clarke (Manager Traffic and Safety), James Harris (Assistant Transport Policy Manager), Michael Oates (Team Leader, Traffic Engineering) and Robin Reed (Principal Transport Planner with cycling strategy remit) provided ongoing support to the Board throughout the review. Project Board meeting dates 19 June 2007, 23 August 2007, 17 September 2007, 17 October 2007 and 7 November 2007. Witnesses providing evidence The Board would like to thank all the witnesses who provided evidence in person: Chris Boocock, Sustrans Area Manager, Brighton and Sussex Paul Jarvis, South East Regional Development Manager (Physical Activity), South East Physical Activity Co-ordinating Team Roger Lanham, Southern Rail Tony Lay, Mayfield and Five Parish Council Mark Strong, Transport Initiatives LLP Alex Sully, Cycling England County Council Members and officers Councillor Matthew Lock, Lead Member Transport and Environment Sara Facer, Cycle Training Co-ordinator, Transport & Environment, East Sussex County 20 Council Peter Hayward, Head of Strategic Network Services, Transport & Environment, East Sussex County Council Andrew Keer, School Travel Plan Co-ordinator, East Sussex County Council John Robbins, Transport Strategy Manager, Transport & Environment, East Sussex County East Sussex County Council Members who submitted written evidence: Councillors Michael Murphy, Rosalyn St Pierre and Rupert Simmons. Evidence papers Item Date East Sussex Cycling Strategy May 2003 Transport and Environment Department Three Year Portfolio Plan 2207/8, 2008/9 January 2007 and 2009/10 Local Transport Plan 2006-2011 2006 Transport and Environment – Council Plan 2007/08 January 2007 Integrated Transport Programme of Works 2007/08-2009/10 – briefing note for January 2007 Member Panel Meeting Balance Scorecard Assessment on new schemes being considered for inclusion in September 2007 the Integrated Transport Capital Programme Written submissions from County Councillors St. Pierre and October 2007 Reports from external organisations Item Date Cycling and social inclusion – speech by from transport minister Charlotte Atkins to October 2007 the Lifecycle UK/GOSW Cycling and Social Inclusion Conference concerning government cycle policies East Sussex Active Living Strategy & Action Plan 2007-12 – draft document from September 2007 Paul Jarvis, South East Regional Development Manager (Physical Activity) Valuing the benefits of cycling – a report to Cycling England – Bruce MacDonald May 2007 SQW Cycling in the Netherlands – Minisiterie van Verkeer en Waterstaat 2007 The National Cycle Network – route user and monitoring report to the end of 2006 - 2006 Sustrans National Cycling Strategy – cycling and health March 2003 A business case and evaluation of the impacts of cycling in London – draft – January 2004 Transport for London Street Management – Cycling Centre of Excellence Surface Transport, Transport for London. Mayor of London publication. Building health – creating and enhancing places for health, active lives – blueprint undated for action, National Heart Forum, Living Streets, CABE 21 The case for cycling – Cycling England undated Reports on cycling from other local authorities Item Date Draft Cycling Strategy – report of the Environmental Scrutiny Committee, County March 2007 Council of the City and County of Cardiff Pedalling Ahead: Our Cycle Strategy – West Sussex County Council April 2006 Cycle Lane Scrutiny Review – Cycleways Task Group, Overview and Scrutiny March 2006 Management Committee, Wiltshire County Council Media Item Date Going Dutch – Steve Melia, Cycle Touring Club magazine November 2007 Carbon belt drive is ‘future for bike transmission’ – Carlton Reid, BikeBiz September 2007 ‘Millions needed’ to push cycling – item on Cycling England report - BBC News September 2007 Bike week – support from East Sussex County Council. Travel Choice email June 2007 Cycle path pushed up priority list – county – Rye and Battle Observer July 2007 We see the Tour de France every day… - Harry Mount, Daily Telegraph July 2007 Wheels are turning as Paris prepares for V Day – Henry Samuel, Daily Telegraph July 2007 Cycling strategy needed – Eastbourne Herald June 2007 Cycle path upkeep – Rye and Battle Observer February 2007 Contact officer: Paul Dean (Scrutiny Manager) Telephone: 01273 481751 E-mail: email@example.com 22
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