Tuesday 7 February 2023

Ealing's Local Plan

Local Plan
Ealing Council is consulting on the draft of its new Local Plan, which sets the agenda for the borough for the next 15 years. It lays down what will be built where – from new houses, to office blocks and transport infrastructure. For the first time, the plan shows "Active Travel Routes", and "Green links". This is good news – it shows that the council now includes active travel as part of its planning process. However, we see two big issues: First, the plan doesn't say what an "Active Travel Route" or "Green Link" is. We assume the Active Travel Routes will provide facilities for safer cycling, but there is no definition of the quality of these routes. The second issue is where the routes will run. The council plans to put its major Active Travel Routes along some of the busiest roads in the borough.  This can work where the roads are wide enough to provide segregated, or semi-segregated cycle lanes. However, some of the routes they propose aren't wide enough to provide separate paths for cyclists. Strangely, there is very little overlap between the draft new local plan and Ealing's published cycle network.

Map of proposed 'active travel' routes in Ealing with data on volume of motor traffic and width available.
Map showing the proposed active travel routes and the approximate width available. A minimum width of 15m is required for segregated cycle lanes.

Ealing Cycling Campaign has responded to the consultation requesting that the terms "Active Travel Route" and "Green Link" are defined. We suggest that an “Active Travel Route is defined as "A route for cycling and walking that is classified as ‘suitable for most people’ using the definition in the Department for Transport Local Transport Note 1/20 figure 4.1. This definition will mean that any proposed Active Travel Route on a road carrying more than 5000 vehicles per day will need to have cyclist provision in the form of a separate track, (or mandatory 24/7 cycle lane of the required width and with light segregation), in each direction. Where there is no realistic prospect of this being achievable, the road should not be included as a proposed Active Travel Route and a suitable alternative alignment should be substituted.