The new road scheme to dual the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross could be enabling the greatest single investment in our local cycle infrastructure in my life time.
How? Because new major road schemes also have dedicated government funding to improve the environment for communities affected by them.
As part of the A30 scheme, I have been working with Nigel Blackler, the Head of Transport at Cornwall Council to secure funding, including £20m from the Highways England Cycling Safety and Integration Designated Fund.
This funding would be used to help create a number of trails which could be used for walking and cycling in our part of Cornwall.
Routes include St Agnes to Truro (including a bridge at the site of the current roundabout); Trispen to Idless; Perranporth to Newquay and St Newlyn East to Carland Cross.
The Truro & Kenwyn Neighbourhood Plan developed an ambitious plan for improving opportunities for people to walk and cycle. This in turn has led to recent investment in new cycle paths within Truro. The new network has the potential to connect many more communities to Truro.
It could also help overcome severance of communities caused by the A30 and could complement the new dualling scheme.
It could also create new great cycle routes and trails across Cornwall, that will rival the Camel Trail and Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast route between Devoran and Portreath. The new trials could enable easier access to our iconic Cornish landscape and nature for many more people to enjoy and I want to make sure people with disabilities have access too.
The network will enable more people to safely cycle and walk to work, schools and college, as well as the hospital. It all also help address congestion and air quality issues.
For many years, I have been working with local cyclists, to develop an ambitious new approach to our local cycling and walking infrastructure, connecting people and communities, improving our health and wellbeing as well as the local economy.
I am delighted to see Cornwall Council get behind the dedicated local campaigners, particularly those in Truro & St Agnes who have worked so hard to build public support for new cycle routes, with street stalls and action days in Truro and St Agnes.
We will shortly find out if all our collective efforts have paid off. The hard work begins then. I very much hope that when we have successfully secured the funding, that Cornwall Council will work closely with the dedicated cycling campaigners, local cyclists of all ages and abilities as well as walkers, drawing on local knowledge and wisdom, so the final schemes are something that we can all be proud of.
Landowners will be crucial in enabling the new pathways as will collaborative effort across parishes. In developing these new pathways, I see real opportunity to enhance our natural environment and create new skilled jobs, with Cornish hedgerows restored and built and Perranporth’s award winning business Green & Blue commissioned to design and make bee block route signs.
First published in the West Briton 07/02/19