Suffolk County Council will be investing £235,000 into Quiet Lanes Suffolk to support more active forms of travel as the county lives with the COVID-19 virus, as well as contributing to Suffolk’s local response to the climate emergency.
The investment is from the Suffolk 2020 Fund, which was announced earlier this year. It is a £3m fund for the council’s own projects to bid into, which must help address its climate emergency declaration and improve Suffolk for all residents.
When the fund’s guidance was first published following the budget in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had not hit the UK. Since then, the UK has seen a rapid and significant shift in activity in direct response to the virus.
The importance of remaining active and taking exercise outdoors has been stressed as part of the country’s response to COVID-19 as we transition into the cautious recovery phase.
A Quiet Lane is a nationally recognised designation of single track road (i.e. no line markings), typically with less than 1,000 vehicle use per day. Quiet Lanes are used by a variety of people and transport modes including walking, cycling and horse riding. Motorised vehicles can use Quiet Lanes but they need to drive with caution.
The scheme has adopted the phrase “Expect and Respect” – urging people to expect Quiet Lane routes to be used by a variety of people, animals and transport modes and to respect the rights of all users.
A Quiet Lane is hosted by a local, rural community, such as a parish or village group, who recognise that Quiet Lane designation can bring benefits to their local quality of life.
Following the announcement of the funding from the Suffolk 2020 Fund, Suffolk County Council is now asking parish and town councils and village groups to register their interest for any potential Quiet Lane designations in their area by visiting the Quiet Lanes Suffolk website
Once registration of interest has been recorded, it will then be explored in detail by the Quiet Lanes Suffolk team. See more at https://sites.google.com/view/quietlanessuffolk/home.
There are already thirteen Quiet Lanes in place spanning seven parishes in East Suffolk. This includes Bromeswell, Butley, Chillesford, Eyke, Newbourne, Felixstowe and Waldringfield.
Currently, there are ten trial Quiet Lanes identified to test a new community-led process towards designation – three in Snape, three in Glemsford and four in Bentley. These Parishes will soon be consulting with their local residents and businesses before decisions are made on official Quiet Lane designation.
Quiet Lanes Suffolk has also received some additional funding as a result from East Suffolk Council’s Greenprint Forum which supports local initiatives towards active travel.
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk's Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:
“I am delighted that this funding has been made available for the Quiet Lanes scheme alongside the £40,000 secured by the East Suffolk Greenprint Forum through the East Suffolk Community Partnerships.
“Quiet lanes help to preserve the character of country lanes, reduce traffic and speed and encourages drivers to be more mindful of non-motorist road users, thereby encouraging more journeys on foot or bike. Not only does this support an active and healthy way of travelling, it also helps the environment and delivers a better quality of life for the local area. Small changes such as these can help make a big difference over time."
Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said:
“I am really pleased Quiet Lanes Suffolk has been granted funding from Suffolk County Council’s 2020 Fund. I was a supporter of the scheme when it first launched back in 2014, and today more than ever, we need to do all that we can to help residents consider more active forms of travel and take daily exercise .
“The Quiet Lanes scheme allows residents in our rural communities to be active - safely and easily. We are asking all road users to be aware, and expect to find walkers, cyclists and horse riders using Quiet Lanes. To respect the use of the road, to travel with that extra care, and to make Quiet Lanes a safe and pleasant place for residents and visitors alike.”
Andrew Cassy, Lead Volunteer for Quiet Lanes Suffolk, said:
“I became aware of Quiet Lanes Suffolk after seeing the Butley designations, which I saw could easily be extended in to my village of Boyton. This additional section of designated road would help to connect up the existing coastal path to Rendlesham Forest, and make a safer route for those who use this lane which is already popular for walkers and cyclists.
“Extending the Quiet Lane routes throughout Suffolk should help to protect the rural nature of these local areas and enhance the options available to visitors and locals for active travel by expanding the existing rights of way network. I am delighted to be part of that team which will leave a real legacy that should benefit the: individuals, through exercising along safer routes; communities, by protecting the existing rural nature of the designated lanes, and; visitors, from far and wide to enjoy the enhanced network of public rights of way and contribute towards the local economy.”