Caithness Committee discusses Wick and Thurso Active Travel Masterplans
Members of the Highland Council’s Caithness Committee have had the opportunity to review and comment on the two updated Active Travel Masterplans for Wick and Thurso aimed at making it safer for people to walk and cycle in and around the towns.
The Masterplans have been developed by the Council in partnership with HITRANS following comprehensive online (due to the pandemic) stakeholder and public engagement exercises whilst recognising existing and emerging national active travel guidance. Their content captures actions proposed to realise the many benefits of active travel including healthy benefits, a reduction in congestion, improved air quality and the chance to improve footfall in town centres.
The report identifies specific interventions and the estimated costs to improve Active Travel routes for all users in both Wick and Thurso
In Wick the three priorities identified in the Masterplan are:
- The construction of over 9km of high quality segregated active travel routes along with safe crossing points
- The opportunity to develop three quiet streets / low traffic neighbourhood areas to create environments that enable walking, cycling and wheeling
- The creation of a mobility hub to enable sustainable travel choices.
In Thurso the priorities are
- The construction of over 7km of high quality segregated active travel routes along with safe crossing points;
- The opportunity to develop two quiet streets / low traffic neighbourhood areas to create environments that enable walking, cycling and wheeling
- The creation of a mobility hub to enable sustainable travel choices
Following discussions today (Friday 19 February) the Committee have approved the use of the Wick and Thurso Active Travel Masterplans as material consideration when dealing with development proposals and as supporting documents for funding bids. They have also agreed to delegate the Executive Chief Officer for Infrastructure and Environment to liaise with other bodies, including Transport Scotland, with a view to identify funding opportunities and a delivery programme to target early improvements across the Wick and Thurso active travel network.
Members also agreed that further local sense-checking and discussion will be undertaken by ward members, supported by officers, as funding becomes available to implement specific proposals. These proposals are considered fluid and adaptable to changing circumstances. Additionally, the Caithness Area Chair and Vice-Chairs will take responsibility for investigating funding opportunities and driving implementation of the Plan to improve active travel options in the county.
Chair of the Committee, Cllr Nicola Sinclair said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic many more people have taken advantage of the quieter roads to get out and explore their local area on foot and by bike, for daily exercise and to maintain their mental health and wellbeing. Our communities have helped shape the Masterplans so I want to thank everyone for their valuable comments and feedback as local insights have such an important role in going forward.
“We hope that the actions proposed to encourage active travel will help people keep the walking and cycling habit going for local trips wherever possible and we look forward to more details about sources of funding that will help us implement these changes.”