North Yorkshire County Council urged to spend more on cycling routes

North Yorkshire County Council has been criticised over the scope and pace of its ambition towards creating cycling routes.

Opposition members of the council said the authority’s decision to focus cycling route creation only in main district centres fell well short of the urgency and action that it needed to take to improve the county’s environmental credentials.

They added while the authority was using hundreds of thousands of pounds of its discretionary spending to back international cycling events, which it said would encourage cycling, it was not using any of its discretionary spending to develop safe routes for cyclists.

The criticism comes ahead of the Tory-run authority’s constituency committees considering its approach to cycle path network provision, which it says is “severely restricted” due to a lack of funding.

A report to the committee states: “Unfortunately, in the current financial climate, and with competing priorities there is limited budget to deliver cycle routes.

“The county council currently receives £3.023m annual allocation for all transport improvements for the whole county or approximately £5 per head of population.

“A significant proportion of this funding is dedicated towards providing additional highway maintenance, our top transport priority.”

Despite the funding restrictions, the council said it did actively seek funding from the government for cycling initiatives by submitting ad hoc bids for funding when opportunities arise and this had led to £900,000 being granted for sustainable transport initiatives in Harrogate, Scarborough and Skipton and £3.2m for measures such as a road-side cycle track in the west of Harrogate.

In 2017, the government urged councils to create Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans to make walking and cycling “the natural choices for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey” and has granted £60,000 to North Yorkshire to develop such plans for Harrogate, Scarborough and Skipton.

The county council is also jointly working with district councils to develop plans for Selby, Sherburn, Tadcaster and Malton and intends to start plans for Northallerton and Catterick Garrison in the near future.

However, Councillor Mike Jordan, of the Yorkshire Party, said while more areas needed to have plans if opportunities to increase environmentally-friendly travel were to be seized, some of the plans that were being developed had been suggested a decade ago.

He said the council could find money for cycle-friendly schemes if the political will was there.

Setting out the county’s 2016 to 2045 transport plan, the authority said it would prioritise the maintenance of existing footways, roads, and cycle tracks over the provision of new facilities.

Cllr Jordan said it was apparent developing options for cycling in centres such as Northallerton, which regularly suffers from congestion due to traffic building up at level crossings, was long overdue and would be a cost-effective measure.

He said: “They are so far behind the scale of things it’s ridiculous. It has got budgets. It needs to start thinking differently, more out of the box.”

6 Comments

  1. Which money is this?

    The money they won’t be spending on schools or the money they’re not going to be spending on social care|?

    The Dales are awash with cyclists who seem to be finding their own routes quite easily…

  2. Just what we need!!! Divert public money to specialist tracks for minor sports lykra clad lovelies who won’t use them anyway, whilst ignoring more popular and beneficial activities by shutting down centres and facilities for both able and disabled users. Never mind producing roads that people can drive on without tearing their suspension out on. Bet it doesn’t stop the rates being manipulated as usual

  3. Do we really need to spend more money on this!!!! The priorities are wrong!!!! Leyburn is again involved in the Tour de Yorkshire & as before this will be detrimental to local businesses, will disrupt the lives of locals & increase our council taxes. I don’t mind paying extra for schools & social care but cyclists is ridiculous!!!!!
    Last time the cyclists came through here they were escorted by 38 police motorcycles, 2 police cars & to top it all off 5 ambulances!!!!!! Please give us a break!!!!!!

  4. The idea is for ordinary people, especially school children, to have safe cycling routes to get to school and work, therby reducing the number of car journeys and improve general health and well being, as well as reducing air pollution. It follows Cycling UK’s “Space for Cycling” campaign. This is very similar to a motion I put to Richmondshire District Council on 10 December 2019 which was defeated by an unholy alliance of Tory, pseudo-Tory and Liberal Democract Councillors. So much for their commitment to combating climate change!

  5. What’s the point. In Catterick we have miles of specific paths all through the garrison and they are hardly used by cyclists.

  6. I agree with the majority of the above comments. It would appear that Lycra clad cyclists would rather use the road instead of the tracks thus annoying road tax paying drivers, endangering lives and generally being a public nuisance. Perhaps they all need a licence in order to use the road.
    Please put the money where it is really needed and appreciated.

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