Blackburn with Darwen Council is passionate about active travel, walking and cycling for short every day journeys, and the many benefits it brings to our communities.
Increased active travel offers neighbourhoods better air quality, reduced congestion and improved activity levels for residents – which in turn helps to fight infection and maintain a healthy weight.
Cross-departmental collaboration has delivered active travel projects across the borough and the summary below shows an ambitious Council delivering healthy streets for the next generation.
Strategy documents that now support Active Travel
- Walking and Cycling Plan (2021-2024)
- Safer Roads Strategy (2022-2026)
- Developing joint Local Transport Plan 4
- Developing BwD Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan
- Climate Emergency Action Plan – Published February 2020
- Eat well, move more strategy (2022-2025)
- Local Plan Walking and Cycling connectivity studies
This work is delivered by a motivated Active Travel delivery group, namely Blackburn with Darwen Stride and Ride, currently a multi-departmental group, made up of: Highways; Strategic Transport, Public Health, Community Safety/safer roads, Health and Leisure, Health and Wellbeing. The group provide a strategic approach to planning and delivery of all capital Emergency Active Travel Fund monies. The group also aims to improve health and wellbeing through the promotion of walking and cycling. This group will also become a delivery group for the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans.
Current Walking and cycling investment
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council are committed to promoting and improving opportunities for sustainable and active travel modes. We have made significant efforts in recent years to promote cycling and walking.
Over the years the Council have been successful in securing funding from a variety of sources, including Local Sustainable Transport Fund, Access Fund, Local Emergency Active Travel Fund and most recently Capability Fund.
In 2015 a significant investment delivered a 26km cycle route encircling Blackburn Town Centre. Known as the Weavers Wheel the network includes spurs radiating out to key employment sites as well as spokes in to Blackburn town centre linking local employment, education, retail and leisure.
Weavers Wheel Strategic Cycle Network Source: 15440-BwD-Connect-Weavers-Wheel-Info-Map_UPDATES_V1.pdf (bwdconnect.org.uk)
Capability Fund delivery 2021-2022 – Revenue Behavioural Change programme
Currently delivered working with 5 Service Delivery Partners, targeting Schools, Businesses and Communities. Delivery of this programme will be over spring and summer 2022.
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP)
Blackburn with Darwen Council are currently using Capability Funding to initiate the development of a LCWIP.
The key outputs of LCWIPs are:
- A network plan for walking and cycling which identifies preferred routes and core zones for further development;
- A prioritised programme of infrastructure improvements for future investment;
- A report which sets out the underlying analysis carried out and provides a narrative which supports the identified improvements and network.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council are working with consultants to develop the LCWIP and are currently progressing with Stage 2 ‘Gathering Information’ of the LCWIP process, identifying and describing the existing walking and cycling networks, analysing travel to work data to establish current travel patterns and identifying locations of significant trip generators.
Over the next few months, the LCWIP process will move onto network planning covering cross boundary connectivity with Blackburn and including consideration of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. This network planning stage will allow us to develop a catalogue of network priorities into ‘bid-ready’ schemes.
Active Travel Social Prescribing Pilot
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council have been successful in securing funding (£30k) to initiate a feasibility study to hopefully have the opportunity to deliver a 3 year 2022-2025 ‘Active Travel Social prescribing’ Pilot.
The feasibility study funding was awarded after 2 successful rounds of application process and assessment. Application and hopeful delivery of the project will be in partnership with a number of Council internal departments including, public health, highways, neighbourhoods, wellbeing and prevention). If we are successful to deliver a pilot project, we will trial new walking and cycling programmes through social prescribing to enable increased active travel and physical activity and to integrate with cycling and walking infrastructure improvements. The feasibility study will focus on supporting those who would most benefit from improved physical and mental health.
Currently working with partners and local communities to gain insight on what support and services people need to make more active travel journeys, determining geographical areas and groups that would benefit from this pilot project. This project will aim to support the Council’s wider work committed to improving health and wellbeing and will inform how we continue to deliver walking and cycling services and how we make them more accessible.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council – Connect Website, apps and available resources
The Connect website is a dedicated website that promotes and houses all sustainable and active travel for the people living, working and visiting Blackburn with Darwen.
Cycling and Walking Apps
A cycling app is available to download (for free) providing the opportunity to view and follow a number of local cycle rides suitable for everyone from family/beginner rides, to intermediate to more advance. The app is free to download and available on both Apple and Android devices and includes interactive maps and voice instruction.
Accompanying the cycle app are three downloadable and printable cycling booklets.