Residents are set to be asked to share their priorities for the future of transport in the county to help the new North Yorkshire Council to shape its plan for the coming decades.
The council, which comes into operation on 1 April, will develop a new local transport plan to guide the management and progress of travel infrastructure and options across the county.
The Government requires a detailed plan to set out how the council will maintain and improve all aspects of local transport, including road, rail, bus, cycle and walking infrastructure.
Since the most recent local transport plan came into effect in 2016, more people are using electric vehicles, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed how people live, work and travel, and there have been advances in technology.
The new local transport plan would link closely with the new council’s wider strategies to support the growth of the local economy and sustainable development.
Executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said: “Transport and travel is of huge importance to local residents, and this will be a key priority for the new council.
“We know the challenges facing North Yorkshire given its size, rurality and diversity.
“North Yorkshire is very different to cities like London and Manchester, but residents nonetheless deserve improved and affordable transport links. This will be key to supporting our economic and sustainable growth in the future.
“All forms of transport, in all parts of our vast county, will be at the heart of consultation with the public as we devise a new plan.
“The creation of the new council and the prospect of the newly elected devolution mayor creates the ideal opportunity to revise our local transport plan, ensuring it can face up to the challenges we are facing now and into the years ahead.”
We are expecting new guidance from the Department for Transport for the development of local transport plans. It is anticipated that the main objectives of this guidance will relate to sustainable economic growth, making transport safer, more reliable and more inclusive and reducing environmental impacts.
At a meeting on Friday, 10 February, Cllr Duncan will be asked to approve public consultation as part of the development of the new local transport plan.
If given the go-ahead, the consultation will form part of the Let’s Talk public engagement, which has already seen residents asked their views on the new North Yorkshire Council’s priorities for serving people locally, its budget and the proposed devolution deal for North Yorkshire and York.
The consultation, which would take place in spring, would be the first stage of engagement, with further stages of consultation as the plan takes shape.
The new council will launch on 1 April when ourselves and the existing seven district and borough authorities merge in the biggest shake-up of local government since 1974. This restructuring of local government paves the way for a devolution deal, which is set to see the Government hand over key decision-making powers and millions of pounds in funding to be overseen by local political leaders.