Five of Aberdeenshire’s key towns will benefit from funding to improve walking, cycling and access to public transport.
Building on previous successful funding applications, Aberdeenshire Council has recently secured money from Sustrans and Paths for All.
A major part of both successful bids was the proposed development of Integrated Travel Towns (ITTs) focussing on Fraserburgh, Portlethen, Ellon, Huntly and Inverurie.
This approach follows the success of Peterhead as an award-winning Cycling Demonstration Town, which improved and promoted cycle links within the town, working with the local community to make it easier and safer for people to cycle to their destination.
The work in Peterhead saw the development of new routes, LED-lit paths, an annual bike ride, cycle mechanic training, bike recycling and area cycle maps, resulting in almost 300 additional weekly journeys made by bike.
With the new funding, Aberdeenshire Council plans to follow similar successful principles to those implemented in Peterhead in the five ITTs and surrounding areas.
The ITT project will focus on long distance routes, links within the towns, and the implementation of a marketing and promotion campaign, all developed in partnership with schools and the local community with the aim to make all sustainable travel easier and more accessible.
During May, the council’s Strategy Team will hold a series of community engagement events to gain an understanding of what sustainable transport improvements would be required for each town.
With over a quarter of all carbon emissions attributable to transport, it is hoped that by supporting simple changes in travel behaviour, Aberdeenshire Council can provide better local environments while meeting its Climate Change obligations.
Speaking ahead of the engagement events, Head of Transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “I’m delighted that our targeted approach is being recognised by our funding partners.
“To date we have been working hard to improve access to walking and cycling facilities, developing Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure and promoting the benefits of active and sustainable travel and this new funding will help us to continue what we started.
“It’s important to recognise that there is longer term value locked into these projects in terms of supporting a healthier population, providing a cleaner environment, reducing carbon emissions and of course a less congested town centre provides local economic benefits.
“I would strongly encourage residents to take the opportunity to engage with our officers so that the council can work more effectively with the communities to deliver improvements that they need. We have a good track record from our work in Peterhead and this is an exciting opportunity to capitalise on this.”
Engagement events will take place at the following locations:
Portlethen: Monday, May 11, 2-6:30pm, Church Hall, Portlethen Parish Church
Fraserburgh: Thursday, May 14, 2-8pm, Learning Rooms 1 & 2, Fraserburgh Community and Sports Centre, Maconochie Place
Ellon: Tuesday, May 19, 3:30-6:30pm, Ythan Centre, Station Road
Inverurie: Thursday, May 21, 2-8pm, St Andrew’s Parish Church, High Street
Huntly: Wednesday, May 27, 2-8pm, Stewarts Hall, Gordon Street
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