Cycling, Walking and Community Transport
Somerset Council are actively supporting initiatives that reduce the need for fossil-fuelled transport, including options for walking, cycling and electric mobility, as well as for more local community transport solutions. In Somerset, 42% of our carbon emissions emanate from transport, compared with 30% from industrial and agricultural activities and 25% from domestic (BEIS Emissions data, 2019).
Over the last 10 years, annual car mileage has been falling nationally, and this trend is likely to continue further following the changes in working-patterns that have occurred since the Covid-19 pandemic, including a move towards agile working practices. Somerset Council now operate agile working for all staff members, allowing staff to work from a location that is convenient to them, to minimise unnecessary travel.
Where travel is required, public transport is a priority choice. Somerset is a large rural community which does create some challenges to the availability of public transport, though buses and train services can be accessed across the county. The trainline has recently launched a platform to support businesses plan and book travel by train more easily and affordably.
Walking and Cycling Maps
Walking and cycling maps for South Somerset - a collaboration with Somerset County Council covering the areas of Castle Cary, Chard, Crewkerne, Ilminster, Langport, Martock, Somerton, Wincanton and Yeovil.
Key Areas of Focus:
Key cycling, walking and community transport areas of focus are:
We are working in partnership with the transport authority (Somerset County Council) to develop a cycling and walking infrastructure plan for Yeovil. This will form part of the Yeovil Access Strategy improvements;
We are proposing to develop an Access Plan for Chard to encourage walking and cycling as part of the Chard Regeneration Programme;
The Council Plan 2020/21 identifies a priority for South Somerset to assess options to improve community transport provision, including the Digital Demand Responsive Transport (DDRT) – Connected Places system;
We are also reviewing options to engage with the Government’s National Bus Back Better Strategy;
Our Local Transport Review will provide robust evidence on local transport needs to inform the next Local Plan Review process, and will be considering walking and cycling infrastructure;
As part of the Local Transport Review, we will maintain pressure to deliver the ‘Stop Line Way’ (SLW) Cycle Path, part of the Sustrans National Route 33 long distance coast-to-coast walking and cycling route. This would be to connect the route to Chard town centre to allow for off-road cycling between Chard and Axminster;
Commissioning the Lyde Road cycle route in North West Yeovil, with Phase 1 (2021) connecting Howard Drive to Wyndham Park roundabout, and Phase 2 connecting onwards to Mudford Road;
Supporting the Langport Transport Group, who are progressing a business case to the ‘Restore your Railways Fund’ for DfT funding to establish a new rail station in the Somerton area;
We have identified 27 sites in South Somerset to install EV charging points in early 2022, and we will be exploring opportunities for the provision of electric car pools/ electric bikes; and
We are undertaking a DfT sponsored E-Scooter trial in Yeovil, Crewkerne and Chard, aimed at reducing car usage for short journeys.
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan
Somerset Council (SC) is producing a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for Yeovil. SC is the statutory authority responsible for walking and cycling infrastructure plans. Work that has been carried out as part of this project is helping us to assess cycling and walking routes across Yeovil which will pass through and around the town centre creating access to retail, leisure and business opportunities in the area. The Yeovil Access Strategy will feed into this, and a summary of the schemes to be delivered as part of the Access Strategy are provided below.
We are also proposing to develop an Access Plan for Chard and Wincanton to encourage walking and cycling as part of the Chard Regeneration Programme (funding dependent) and Wincanton improvements.
Pedal for the Planet – Community Scheme
Muchelney Parish Council and Kingsbury Episcopi Parish Council applied to the Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund for a project to promote and encourage cycling among residents. ‘Pedal for the Planet’ aims to deliver a series of free workshops and activities over the summer months to promote safe and fun cycling for everyone. Did you know that residents of small rural villages like these make the highest annual number of car journeys? By swapping car for bike for short, local journeys, we can make a real difference to our personal carbon emissions - and it is good for our health and wellbeing too.
Local business HubLife (based at New Cross Court, West Lambrook) will be delivering activities ranging from fun balance bike sessions for little ones through to bike maintenance and safe cycling workshops. This provides something for all ages and abilities. The Parishes are hoping to also map and digitise local cycling routes starting and ending in the parishes.
To find out more, please visit and follow the project’s Facebook page here.
For details of SSDC's Community Grant Scheme click here.