Kent County Council has welcomed news that government has awarded it £1.6 million to help make active travel easier. In the same week, Kent County Council announced that a new town-wide 20mph zone in Faversham is to be created, using some of this new funding, as part of plans to increase active travel.
Work in Faversham is estimated to start within the next four weeks, and be substantially completed by August. If the initial grant is spent within eight weeks, KCC will have access to full funding of just over £8 million for further active travel schemes across the county.
With a tight timeframe, KCC is working with Faversham Town Council and its 20's Plenty Committee to get this new scheme installed. This group, which includes Tim Stonor, Phil Jones Associates and local 20’s Plenty campaigner Amanda Russell, has been working on the scheme for the last five years, so good plans were already in place.
Faversham’s new 20mph zone will be supported by road markings and 20mph signs and gateways approaching to the town.
Work in Faversham is estimated to start within the next four weeks, and be substantially completed by August. If the initial grant is spent within eight weeks, KCC will have access to full funding of just over £8 million for further active travel schemes across the county
Helen Whately, Member of Parliament for Faversham and Mid Kent, has been supporting the scheme. 'The benefits of a lower speed limit are clear. Safer roads, better air quality, and improved quality of life. These are all things we need in Faversham. A lower speed limit would also encourage more people to walk or cycle around the town. Getting more people walking and cycling is so important. It’s a cheaper and greener way to travel and better for our health.
'There’s never been a better time to encourage active travel. I know many people have discovered the benefits of walking or cycling during the coronavirus.'
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: ‘I’m grateful that we’ve been able to get this plan off the ground and, because of the timescales involved, it will be a little different to how we usually do things.
‘Throughout this trial we will be monitoring how it performs and consulting with people on whether they approve of the scheme – usually this would happen beforehand.
‘There are studies that show 20mph schemes encourage healthier transport choices such as walking and cycling, and they increase levels of walking and cycling by about a fifth.
‘I hope this trial will encourage that behaviour from the Faversham community and that they benefit from lower traffic levels, reduced congestion, and less road noise.
‘We’re anticipating more people will be travelling to work and to school by bike or on foot so we’re hopeful this change will make a real difference.'
The Department for Transport fund is specifically to invest in walking and cycling initiatives across the county.
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