Scheme plans foot and pedal power

Coun Anne Dale with partners at the launch of the Cycling and Walking Board.

Coun Anne Dale with partners at the launch of the Cycling and Walking Board.

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An ambitious scheme is under way to get more people in the county travelling under their own steam.

Northumberland County Council’s new cycling and walking board, a partnership including representatives from tourism, health and transport, and supported by former athlete Steve Cram, aims to promote all the benefits of walking and cycling to a wider audience.

The board is working on a ten-year plan to bring more foot and pedal power into Northumberland.

Northumberland already has an extensive network of cycling and walking routes and the board has brought agencies together to boost the benefits for the county.

One of its first priorities is the creation of a new Cycling and Walking Plan which aims to maximise the role of cycling and walking as modes of transport, promoting healthier lifestyles, boosting tourism and supporting the economy; contribute to the development of a safe, convenient, efficient and attractive transport infrastructure for everyone; and to raise the profile of cycling and walking in Northumberland.

Coun Anne Dale, who chairs the new board, said: “This is an exciting time to be promoting the benefits of cycling and walking in the community and there is no more spectacular place than Northumberland to do it.

“There’s already an excellent infrastructure of cycle routes across Northumberland. However what we want to achieve is not just aimed at people involved in sport already, we want to make cycling and walking a normal and fun part of everyday life.

“While the geography of our county may not make it practical for everyone to walk or cycle on a daily basis, we can do more to encourage people to get involved.

“That could be through increasing the number of cycle parking areas at key locations or developing more safe walking routes for schoolchildren.”