Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice to Melanie Carr of Democratic Services (see contact details at bottom of page) by midday on Friday 24 September 2021, three working days before the day of the meeting. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item. Members of the public, who have given notice, will be invited to speak:
· At this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);
· When the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting;
· If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will ask anyone who may be taking a recording to cease while you speak.
It was noted that Mrs Caroline Bradley, a representative of the British Horse Society had submitted a statement in regard to NYCC’s Active Transport and LCWIP Initiatives. The statement had been circulated to Forum members ahead of the meeting due to its length so that they would have ample time to digest the information provided.
At the meeting. Mrs Bradley read out her statement as follows:
Creation of new paths to achieve Active Travel objectives is to be welcomed provided that equestrians are included, as a minimum, on those outside of large town centres. We urge a strategic approach giving consideration to potential links to achieve a continuous network and maximum benefit for ALL non-motorised users.
Many of the proposed routes under consideration will be in urban areas. However, many horses are kept on the urban fringe, so it is important that equestrians are not excluded from routes that exit the urban areas into the surrounding environs. Bridleways are legally defined as routes for walkers and horse riders which cyclists have been given license to use on the basis that they give way to walkers and horse riders and take the surface as found, i.e. it should not to be improved for the benefit of cyclist over walkers and horse riders (Countryside Act 1968).
Active Travel and LCWIP initiatives should not, in any way compromise the use of public rights of way by making them less amenable to existing lawful users. The roadification of rural bridleways and higher right NMU routes leads to head down speed cycling which is dangerous for other users. Fast road bicycles are just that, road bikes with specialist thin wheels and tyres. Well constructed compacted stone surface is suitable for all users including cyclists with normal wheeled bikes and should be used for improvements to existing routes and is preferred for newly constructed routes.
Where existing routes are considered as part of the plan, it is important that all user groups are consulted so that the impact on other lawful users can be assessed and, if necessary, alternative measures discussed. For each specific proposal that uses a public right of way or minor road, the width, the proposed surface and the impact of increased estimated numbers of cyclists must be considered in order to design a route suitable for all legal users in each specific location.
Any newly constructed paths should be integrated or physically linked with the existing public rights of way network where possible and needed, clearly waymarked and recorded on either the definitive map or another publicly accessible map.
The Highways Act 1980 requires the road verges to be kept available for horses and livestock, stretches of which are used by horse riders as links along busy roads to reach quieter lanes and rights of way. The road verges should not made into cycle ways which exclude horse riders. Where proposed new, or improved routes have crossing points we suggest appropriate signal-controlled (or even grade-separated) crossings should be provided suitable for all groups.
Consideration should be given to the use of ‘Quiet Lanes’ where the speed of traffic is reduced.
Where motorised traffic is to be prohibited on either a right of way or minor road to facilitate cycling and walking this should allow equestrians. Signage and structures must not impede equestrians and new bridges/underpasses should be suitable for equestrian use. If equestrians are not an included user on active travel routes, the consequence is that equestrians are left on the carriageway with lorries and cars passing them on the outside and cyclists passing them on the inside, which is another accident waiting to happen.
Commuting cycling is likely to take place at times other than when recreational use takes place. Thus, a path used for commuting may well be used for recreational travel especially if it provides a circular route by connecting to other paths.
Public rights of way and minor public roads are already shared by cyclists and other user groups. So as a general principle, we believe that, for maximum public benefit and fairness, the reciprocal approach should be implemented and new cycle paths should be shared with other user groups unless there is a specific, unresolvable reason not to do so. Equestrian use must be considered when Active Travel or LCWIP routes are proposed in new developments
In summary, the BHS has put forward some important principles of law, equality and best value for money. Any active travel or LCWIP initiatives should be fully inclusive and make provision for horse riders. Horse riders and walkers right to safety and amenity on the public bridleways and higher rights paths should be respected. The natural surfaces of many of the public bridleways are an important amenity value of the routes, these should not be hard surfaced to suit the needs of one type of user. Adequate maintenance of the existing bridleway surfaces is all that is required to make them useable by cyclists and more pleasant for all. There are some BHS DMMO applications for bridleways awaiting processing by NYCC which may give missing links in the network and merit consideration for bringing forward for the benefit of all those not in a motor vehicle.
In response, Keisha Moore – NYCC Senior Transport Planning Officer confirmed Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) were a strategic approach to identifying cycling and walking improvements required at the local level, enabling a long-term approach to developing local cycling and walking networks, typically over a 10-year period, and a vital part of the Government’s strategy to increase the number of trips made by active modes. She noted the objectives were to:
· Increase cycling activity
· Increase walking activity
· Reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured on England’s roads
· Increase the percentage of children aged 5 to 10 that usually walk to school
She noted that LCWIPs considered the needs of equestrians where they had access to or were near routes where there was a proposal to deliver a scheme. Whilst accepting that a great many equestrian rides were taken as a leisure activity and had the same health and well-being benefits as cycling and walking, she confirmed the studies were predominantly designed to meet the Government’s objectives, outlined above, to receive funding for cycling and walking.
She also confirmed:
· In order to achieve such funding, designs for schemes had to comply with the Government guidance for Cycling Infrastructure Design (LTN 1/20) which was prescriptive about what could be delivered and where.
· Officers responsible for delivering active travel infrastructure were well acquainted with the guidance; however, within it there was limited note of the requirement to include provision for equestrians except for the following:
Ø In delivery of all walking/cycling infrastructure that is on publicly maintained highway the needs of equestrians are considered where they have access to or are near to routes we are proposing to deliver.
Ø All “non-motorised users” are considered to ensure schemes encompass the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and disabled people.
· Prominently, utility trips were undertaken in urban areas, which were most likely unsuitable for equestrian use. Where routes were identified that were likely to have a higher equestrian interest, NYCC were committed to engaging with stakeholders such as the British Horse Society. Such engagement would continue in current and future plans.
· Whilst the design of all new infrastructure predominantly targeted pedestrians and cyclists, she confirmed consideration would still be given to all non-motorised users.
The Chair thanked Caroline Bradley for her contribution to the meeting