Council allows more time to develop quiet rural lanes proposals

4:11pm - 07 April 2021
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North Somerset Council is withdrawing plans to introduce a new Traffic Regulation Order on parts of the local rural lanes network to provide residents and road users with more opportunities to help shape the ‘quiet rural lanes’ proposals.

The proposals intend to make country lanes safer and more attractive for all who enjoy them, encouraging users to consider one another and take extra care to share the roads whether they’re on foot, in the saddle or behind the wheel. 

These proposals would maintain normal access for local residents and support the economic recovery of local business by improving access for tourists and customers. It is hoped that the reduction in traffic would also help to protect the character, environment and biodiversity in sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) surrounding the rural lanes. 

Cllr James Tonkin, North Somerset Council’s executive member for planning, highways and transport, said: “Last week, the council invited residents to respond to plans to reduce volumes of traffic on rural roads using a Traffic Regulation Order. In this instance, we have not provided our communities with enough information about the objectives of the ‘quiet rural lanes’ proposals, and so the Traffic Regulation Order has caused understandable concern. 

“This is not how we usually engage with our communities and we are sorry that, on this occasion, we’ve not provided the necessary information or context in advance of notices going up. 

“So far, we have received a broad range of both positive and negative responses to the proposals. This has demonstrated and reiterated the importance of local views in taking them forward. As such, we are withdrawing the Traffic Regulation Order so we can offer a more inclusive and comprehensive package of engagement.  

“We want to get it right on the ‘quiet rural lanes’ project and to do that we need to have the community with us and not against us. In putting residents at the forefront of our approach, that is exactly what we strive to do.” 

The council will now develop new plans to engage with residents on the implementation of the Government funded ‘rural quiet lanes’ proposals. These plans will include a range of forums where local people can respond, for example webinar and Q&A sessions like those currently scheduled for the other schemes promoting Active Travel in North Somerset. The council will share details of the opportunities for community involvement in the coming days.