Active travel

Active travel

The largest gains in reduction of carbon emissions can be achieved when short car journeys are switched to walking or cycling.

Journey to School

A lot of short journeys in Church Stretton result from school journeys. Some 45% of pupils under 11 in Shropshire travel to school by car. There are several initiatives which could be pursued by Shropshire Council working with local schools to encourage less car use.

These include School Travel Plans, bikeability training, walking buses, highway management improvements such as School Streets. These are being pursued with some Schools across the county. Tackling individual schools with 20mph zones in accordance with current policies is very expensive and although it produces significant benefits the likely timescale for extending this approach across the County’s 150 schools will be long. We favour introducing town wide 20mph limits which are both cheaper to install and simpler to understand.

Further details about the 20’s Plenty campaign are provided below <<< link >>>.

Following consultation on an earlier draft in Spring 2023 Shropshire Council approved the Final draft of the Local  Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Church Stretton in March 2024.

Very few of the changes we advocated have been incorporated and there are inconsistencies within the draft Plan which require attention. The proposals to address improvements to the walking environment in High Street have been omitted from the priorities list and some of the proposals are not clear as to their intent. It is hoped that the forthcoming Local Transport Plan 4 can remedy these problems.

No funding for schemes in Church Stretton has been allocated at present. However, the Final draft Plan has the following short term (2-5 years) priorities:

CS.10 Route between Sandford Avenue and Watling Street South connecting into the access to the train station.
Investigate provision of a segregated cycling facility running along A49, including side road crossing treatments. Upgrade crossing facilities at the A49/Sandford Ave junction in line with definitive design standards and in partnership with National Highways

CS.CROSS1 Crossing of Sandford Avenue at the exit of the railway station
Investigate provision of a crossing of Sandford Avenue to allow easier access to the railway station from the west

In response to the  Draft Infrastructure Plan for Active Travel in Spring 2023, Stretton Climate Care responded with the Local Cycling and Walking Plan Response Stretton Climate Care 05 06 2023.

In particular, we advocated that there should be a cyclist/pedestrian bridge across the A49 and railway at Crossways with access to the platforms as well as on into the town centre. This would provide a safe and step free route for all. Another bridge across the A49 and the railway could be constructed to provide a crossing on the route from Watling Street North through Coppice Leasowes across the A49 and then another bridge across the railway into the footpath to Essex Road adjoining Churchill Road. This would particularly benefit the many school children who use this route regularly crossing the A49 where traffic speeds are only controlled the national limit and across an unstaffed level crossing of the railway.

Another key recommendation was to improve the conditions for pedestrians in High Street. Here the current footway is only wide enough for one person and does not provide access for people to pass each other, browse in shop windows, enable double buggies nor most mobility scooters to use the route. There are various options to enable wider footways using a one-way traffic scheme or restricting cars further and maybe extend this to The Square. Further consultations would be required to determine the most suitable scheme. The current arrangements force people to walk in the vehicular carriageway causing a serious risk of injury and should not be allowed to continue.

<<< Picture of Restricted footway, High Street/people walking in carriageway. >>>

There are many more potential schemes to improve walking and cycling facilities upon which we have provided comments.

It is encouraging to see that the March 2024 Consultation for Shrewsbury Moves has incorporated proposals for extensive 20mph zones in Shrewsbury. All political parties have indicated their support for the draft Strategy.

20’s Plenty

<<< 20’s Plenty Campaigners in Ludlow >>>

In our view, an extensive 20mph zone should also be implemented in Church Stretton to provide safer conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

20’s Plenty for Us, the not-for-profit organisation that supports 700 local groups making their community ‘better places to be’ seek for a speed limit of 20mph to be normal in residential areas and in town and village centres, with exceptions where appropriate.  They are apolitical and receive no government or political party funding.

Here in Church Stretton, we already have the town centre covered by a 20 miles per hour zone and there is an advisory limit outside the schools. A significant reduction in casualties and in particular result in most casualties being only minor injuries. It would also encourage cycling and walking as the fear of becoming a casualty will be reduced.

Many of the draft proposals recommended constructing dedicated cycle ways but unfortunately the London based consultants were not fully aware of local constraints on achieving that. We consider that in many cases, cyclists will continue to have to share the highway with motor vehicles. Therefore, we have concluded that lowering the speed limit to 20mph generally across the town, with exemptions where considered appropriate is the most suitable policy to follow. 20mph speed limits substantially reduce the risk of serious injury to pedestrians and cyclists. Journey times will often not be significantly affected as the town is small.

Electric bikes and Cargo bikes

Electric bikes make cycling up Church Stretton’s hills a doddle! They are ideal for inexperienced cyclists as the ease of pedalling makes balance easier to achieve. Companies can introduce assisted purchase schemes for employees and free up space around their premises and gain the benefits of a fitter work force. Larger companies should carry out Workforce Travel plans which can encourage a greener approach to commuting. Longer cycling commutes are possible using an electric bike.

Cargo bikes are revolutionising the last mile or so of deliveries and could be used by local businesses collectively instead of motor vehicles in many cases. They are also a pretty neat way of getting children to school.

Improved bike parking facilities are also required.

The Benefits of Shifting to Walking and Cycling

The measures we have set out above would encourage many people to switch from car travel to walking and cycling. This would bring the following benefits:

  • Reduced carbon emissions
  • Reduced air pollution
  • Healthier population as a result of exercise
  • Reduced noise and visual intrusion
  • A more pleasant town centre

The third element of the transport hierarchy can be pursued by improving the type of vehicles used for transport. Encouraging the use of electric cars by providing public chargers has been in place in Church Stretton since 2013. Although the original charger is no longer operating, others have been installed and are in process of being installed. Although electric cars do not produce carbon emissions during their operation, they do produce small particulates from their tyres and brakes. There is now a vast range of electric vehicles at low to high prices to purchase although their running costs with home charger are low. There are considerable tax incentives for businesses to use electric vehicles and they can also assist their employees with their purchase. Local employers could also install workplace charging facilities.

Electric buses and vans are gradually being brought into use and heavy lorries are also starting to become available.

All these Improvements will help reduce carbon emissions.

Stretton Climate Care can offer advice about electric cars and chargers.

Electrification of the railway through Church Stretton will be necessary to achieve net zero.

Although Shropshire Council has responsibility for progressing most of these measures, we also have a personal responsibility and opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions in Church Stretton and area.
Examples of when these opportunities arise are:

when we decide to avoid making a journey -by using a local supplier, or working from home
We can Shift our journeys by car to use buses, cycling or walking
We can Improve our method of transport when we choose to purchase an electric vehicle


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