I have submitted a question to The Leader of Surrey County Council’s ahead of full council next week.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has had a terrible impact on the lives and health of many Surrey residents, as well as severe economic consequences. But one of the consequences of the lock down also presents a rare opportunity to move towards our ambitious Climate Change target for transport of a reduction of in 60% emissions in the transport sector by 2035.
During the lock down, the quieter and less polluted streets have encouraged our residents to walk and given many who have never cycled before, a new confidence to get on their bikes. Over several weeks, the lockdown has resulted in a level of behaviour change that most transport strategies can only dream of.
The recent Surrey Climate Change Strategy states that to achieve our goal of net zero carbon by 2050, we must act today to reduce our carbon emissions. The strategy identifies the reduction in our transport emissions asfundamental to achieving this goal, stating the county will promote an integrated, accessible, affordable and reliable public and active (walking or cycling) transport system.
A shift to more agile working, the need to socially distance when travelling to work and the appreciation of the health benefits of cycling and walking indicate that this change in travel behaviour could be long term. Many of my residents in Haslemere are very keen that this once in a lifetime opportunity is not missed.
Please could the Leader please explain how this council intends to ensure Surrey’s transport network support the recovery from the COVID-19 emergency to provide a lasting legacy of greener, safer transport?
Could the Leader outline how the Highways team are responding to new guidelines under the Traffic Management Act 2004, and the recent statement by Grant Shapps which expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel.’