Walking and cycling manifesto for Somerset

Somerset Climate Action Network has recommended that the five principal authorities in Somerset ‘Remove barriers and lead joint funding bids to plan and develop effective cycling and walking infrastructure in all Somerset towns and key rural locations’.

This manifesto sets out its signatories’ requests of the County Council as Highway Authority.

We ask the County Council to:

  1. Reverse its historical prioritisation, which puts predicting and providing for cars first, with pedestrians and cyclists equal third.
  2. Stop all investment based on ‘predict and provide’. Future expenditure on Highways should only be for maintenance and safety improvements.
  3. Establish a specific and substantial budget with a lead officer at Assistant Director level for the development of walking and cycling networks across the County.
  4. Adopt current best-practice guidance as policy:
    1. Manual for Streets Vols 1 and 2
    2. Cycling [what is it?]
  5. Accept that the County Council does not have the capacity, nor the granular local knowledge, to control and manage everything that needs to be done for sustainable transport. Having set the appropriate standards, the Council should devolve to District and Local Councils where appropriate.


    1. Establish a standard for cycle routes between settlements, which might include designation of existing roads as ‘quiet lanes’ or other regulatory measures, and adoption of the Knooppunten or similar system for wayfinding.
    2. Promote the connection by safe cycle routes of all settlements in Somerset of over 2,000 population. The actual routes to be agreed by all the local councils through which the route passes and/or the local District Council.
    3. Support the use of off-road routes and former railway lines by (if powers are delegated to SCC) giving financial assistance to landowners under s1(1) of the Agriculture Bill 2020 or by using compulsory purchase and Highways Act 1980 powers where necessary.
    4. Support longer-range cycle routes, liaising with neighbouring authorities as necessary.
    5. Prohibit pavement parking across the County.
    6. Introduce 40 mph [Devon say 50 mph] limits on all single carriageway rural roads, and 20 mph limits within built-up areas.


    1. 20-minute neighbourhoods (ie 10 minutes’ walk there, 10 back, 800 m distance)

    Initial draft produced jointly by Mike Ginger (Taunton Area Cycling Campaign), Gary Perrett, (Bridgwater Area Cycling Campaign) and James Hood (Bruton Town Council), 14 May 2020

    Appendix: specific locations

    1. Reappropriate the disused infrastructure of the Somerset & Dorset Rail Line where possible across the entire county creating a level multiuser off road track that would also allow good disabled access, linking up many villages and towns.
    2. Create links with Devon County to extend this effort allowing a usable multiuser track connecting the coast all the way to Bristol and Bath for better work and tourist links.

    3    Recommend refusal of any significant proposal for development that               does not include upgrading its pedestrian and cycling connections with          local facilities to the standards set out in 4 above.

  6. Comments on the draft manifesto, to be received by 12 June 2020;

The draft manifesto can be found as a Google Document at this link. It’s easiest to comment directly on the document (by selecting the text to which the comment applies, then clicking the small plus sign that appears in the right hand margin) but email comments are also welcome.