Emphasis on walking and cycling bad for business claim Knowsley councillors

With less than three weeks to go before second stage consultation closes on the Third Local Transport Plan (LTP3) for Merseyside, councillors in Knowsley have reportedly criticised the emphasis it gives to cycling and walking schemes.

According to the Liverpool Echo, in their draft response to LTP3, the councillors concerned are urging that a provision to give over 10% of the budget to cycling and walking be dropped, warning that the region’s economic development risks being hampered.

LTP3, which is due to be implemented by April 2011, is being drawn up by the Merseyside Transport Partnership, which comprises Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral Councils and Merseytravel, the Integrated Transport Authority/Executive.

As part of the process, the Merseyside Transport Partnership is inviting feedback on the proposals contained in LTP3 by 30 November, and details of how to give that plus links to relevant documents can be found here.

The Preferred Strategy under LTP3 outlines six key goals, namely:

  • To ensure the transport system supports the priorities of the Liverpool City Region and its Local Strategic Partnerships.
  • To provide and promote a clean and low carbon transport system.
  • To ensure the transport system promotes and enables improved health and wellbeing
  • To ensure the transport system allows people to connect easily with employment, services and social activities
  • To ensure the transport network supports the economic success of the Liverpool City Region by the efficient movement of people and goods
  • To maintain our assets to a high standard.

Among the main provisions that will help achieve that, Merseyside Transport Partnership highlights “Improving health and promoting walking and cycling and encouraging people to consider alternatives to the car,” and “Reducing road traffic accidents by introducing more low speed zones, which will also help get more people cycling and walking.”

In its Public Summary for Consultation, it points out that “People in Hamburg, Germany" - a city that invites comparison with Liverpool as much for its status as a port as a place linked with The Beatles - "earn 50% more than people in Liverpool, yet make significantly more trips by public transport and bike.”

However, in its draft response, Knowsley Council claims that LTP3 has a “number of serious weaknesses,” with director of regeneration Nick Kavanagh, who also acts as interim director of regeneration at Liverpool city council, saying: “The six goals in the plan should be prioritised with economic growth/regeneration being a key driver to underpin a prosperous economy – in its current form it is considered that the plan will not deliver the economic regeneration either of Knowsley or Merseyside.”

Merseyside Transport Partnership chairman Neil Scales told the Liverpool Echo: “We would like to thank Knowsley Council for their response.”

He added: “A consultation period is designed to ensure we receive feedback, both good and bad, from as wide a range of organisations and people as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Autumn/Winter issue of the Cycle Liverpool magazine produced by Liverpool City Council has now been published and can be read online.

If you want to give your views on Merseyside's Transport Plan the Merseyside Transport Partnership is keen to hear as many views as possible on the future of transport in the area. To have your say, visit www.transportmerseyside.org before 30 November 2010.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.