Questions on Active Travel were put to the 5 out of 7 Stirling North Ward candidates whose email addresses were readily acquired (SNP x2, Conservative x1, Green x1, Labour x1). Liberal party and Scottish Family Party candidate email addresses were not found. Two of the five candidates contacted addressed the following active travel issues.
These questions were asked by the Cambuskenneth Nature and Environment Group.
Questions to candidates
We invite you, as a Stirling Council electoral candidate, to provide the CC with information regarding how you would address active travel in the council area. Two items are identified:
- The long-overdue ‘missing link’ in the Stirling section of the national cycle network NCN 76.
- A coherent network of active travel routes so that the Active Travel Stirling Council is promoting becomes a safe and viable option for residents.
The councillors who actually adressed the issues and their responses were:Jim Thompson, Scottish National Party, and Rachel Nunn, Conservative and Unionist Party
Jim Thompson (existing councillor, SNP) response :“I agree from the outside there is a patchwork of cycle routes. We have lost 2 people, poached by other Councils who were working on exactly that. To develop a coherent structure to cycling in and around Stirling. It is back on track and it will involve consultation with cycling groups.The missing link is an issue insofar as Network rail has agreed in principle but Sustrans have not been able to pin them down to signing a formal agreement. Sustrand agreed to administer this project.There is an officer starting the process of design/consultation on the National Cycle Route from Causewayhead Roundabout A907 to the A91.Scottish Power Energy have submitted revised drawings for path/cycle lane on the A91 route north (past Powis Mains). They are gearing up for a start in June.
The City Deal, delayed because of Covid, has committed to connectivity.” Jim was in touch with the Council and forwarded an email from an officer at Stirling Council regarding forthcoming actions to alleviate danger on the busy A907 section of the NCN 76. “I can confirm that I have included the implementation of a 30mph limit on this section of road in our programme for this financial year. A reduction in the speed limit should lead to a reduction in actual speeds and the number of motorists who feel the need to overtake, thereby reducing the risks for cyclists on the road. To make better sense of the new speed limit I had hoped that its introduction would coincide with the construction and opening of the new Manor Powis to Causewayhead cycle route. Unfortunately, this does not appear likely and we will therefore be including some additional signs and road makings to highlight the presence of cyclists who will, at this stage, still require to use the road.
Whilst not a perfect solution, I trust that our actions will improve conditions for cyclists until the new cycle route is available.”
Rachel Nunn (Conservative candidate standing in place of Ross Oxburgh) response:I SET UP GOING CARBON NEUTRAL STIRLING AND CYCLE STIRLING – PULLING TOGETHER ALL THE CYCLING FRATERNITIES ACROSS STIRLING TO COLLECTIVELY LOBBY FOR BETTER NETWORKS, WAS SET UP FROM THAT IN (I THINK) 2010.WHEN GCNS CLOSED DOWN, THIS PROJECT WAS HANDED TO FORTH ENVIRONMENT LINK. THE POINT OF CYCLE STIRLING WAS TO CREATE THIS COHERENT NETWORK AND THE COUNCIL AT THE TIME WERE INCREDIBLY STUBBORN ABOUT TRANSLATING THIS INTO ACTION. THIS CONTINUED LACK OF PROGRESS (WITHIN A WIDER LACK OF PROGRESS TOWARDS NET ZERO) IS ONE OF THE KEY REASONS I HAVE NOW FINALLY DECIDED TO STAND AS AN ELECTED MEMBER.OUR MANIFESTO SETS OUT THAT ACTIVE TRAVEL WILL BE AN INTEGRAL COMPONENT OF ALL TRANSPORT DECISIONS WILL TAKE. I HAVE BEEN IN TOUCH WITH ANDREW ABBESS BECAUSE HE ASSURES ME THAT THERE IS A COHERENT PLAN – AND IF I AM ELECTED, I WANT TO SEE THIS PLAN TO UNDERSTAND HOW IT IS BEING FUNDED AND WHEN IT IS BEING IMPLEMENTED
Below is further information supplied to the candidates relating to the two issues
- The NCN 76 route is unfinished at Manor Powis. Active travellers are directed by blue signage north out of the city, through quiet roads in Riverside and Cambuskenneth, up onto the fast-flowing A907 towards Alloa. Stirling’s NCN 76 then directs them to either join heavy traffic or to use narrow pavements with rutted gravel sections (lamp posts intruding) and six-inch kerb drops before crossing seven lanes of traffic at the Manor Powis roundabout (A91 and A907 intersect). This ‘missing link’ has to be negotiated before reaching the safe and extensive NCN 76 route that connects Stirling to the east.
In 2015, Stirling Council’s schedule was for an alternative Manor Powis route to be completed by 2018. Four years past the target completion date, March 2022, the Council says it is ‘appointing contractors to undertake a series of additional activities ahead of wider engagement’ (no date could be provided for these to occur).
- Stirling Council has allocated funding into active travel routes, the Millennium Way, the University and College routes . . . however it is a patchwork. There appears to be no robust Stirling Council plan for an active travel network. Active travel requires connectivity between homes, retail, services and work, and it has to be safe.
On UK roads, serious casualties are 45 times greater for a cyclist than a car driver and fatalities are 17 times higher for pedestrians than by car (per mile travelled – DOT statistics 2019). When surveyed, 66% of UK residents thought that the UK’s public roads were too dangerous to cycle on (Statistica, 2020). Is it viable to promote or moral to encourage residents to take active travel options without addressing the risk such travel involves?