People in Suffolk are being encouraged to explore more of the beautiful countryside on their doorstep through the growing Quiet Lanes initiative.
Quiet Lanes is a nationally recognised designation for narrow, rural roads which can be shared with walkers, horse riders, cyclists and other road users. The scheme aims to encourage everyone using the lanes to travel with caution, so everyone can enjoy the rural lanes with greater safety.
Launched in 2020 it is a county-wide project overseen by a volunteer steering group supported by Suffolk County Council’s 2020 Fund, the East Suffolk Community Partnerships and the East Suffolk Greenprint Forum.
Since its launch nearly 200 parish councils have engaged and there are now more than 350 lanes designated in Suffolk, covering approximately 400 kilometres (248 miles) of country road.
All Quiet Lanes are marked with green signs at either end, which clearly show the hierarchy of right of way for people using the road. Residents can use the interactive map on the Quiet Lanes Suffolk website to find out where the nearest lanes are to them.
In a joint statement Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for the environment, and Cllr Norman Brooks, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for transport, said:
“This is a fantastic initiative which helps to preserve the character of our country lanes, reduce traffic and speed, and encourage drivers to be more mindful of non-motorist road users, making it safer for those who want to enjoy our beautiful rural lanes by foot or bike. Not only does this support an active and healthy way of travelling, but it also helps the environment and provides a better quality of life for the local area.”
Councillor Alexander Nicoll, Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Transport Strategy, said:
“This is a wonderful sustainable initiative aimed at opening up more of our countryside for leisure and recreation activities and active travel. The lockdowns over the past two years have shown the value of these areas that exist on many of our doorsteps, both for our physical and mental health. Now they have been officially designated we hope it will encourage more residents to make use of the countryside around them and explore other ways of travelling other than in the car.”
Tim Beach, volunteer at Suffolk Quiet Lanes, said:
“Quiet Lanes has been the perfect example of people working together to achieve something significant. Without the hard work of the volunteers and the willingness of Parish Councils to work together to link up the lane network and hold public consultation, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve anywhere near the amount of Quiet Lanes that have now been designated across Suffolk, in such a short space of time.”
In 2019, Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council declared a Climate Emergency. The council set up a Policy Development Panel to investigate how to cut Suffolk County Council’s carbon and harmful emissions on a spend to save basis, with the aim to make Suffolk carbon neutral by 2030.
Now in its second phase, work is being done to explore six focus areas, including Transport and Air Quality to which the Quiet Lanes initiative contributes through improvement to natural environmental quality.