An Active Travel Strategy for the Outer Hebrides

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and HITRANS are developing a strategy for walking and cycling in the Outer Hebrides.

Public engagement events will take place between Wednesday 16th May and Monday 21st May. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) is working together with the regional transport partnership, HITRANS and will be assisted by Ove Arup & Partners in the preparation of the project. It will be delivered with support from the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme.

The project covers public roads and footways in the inhabited islands between Barra and Lewis. Land controlled by other individuals and organisations will be considered, particularly where agreement to provide long-term solutions for walking and cycling would help address a significant gap in current routes.

The Scottish Government is increasing the amount of funding for active travel projects, and at the same time local communities are asking CnES for better, safer streets. The Active Travel Strategy will consider a wide variety of projects, and this will allow funders to see where the priorities might be for the next five to ten years. Other areas of Scotland already have seen the rewards of having such strategies in place through successful funding awards.

Possible improvements range from adding new or wider places to walk and cycle along existing streets, to entirely new off-road paths in the countryside, to better information, marketing and advertising. Actions will help address the following themes:

  • Comfort – changing to layout of streets to provide space that is wide enough to walk and cycle comfortably on, and is attractive and welcoming
  • Accessibility – improving the design of streets so they are inclusive to young, old and people with disabilities, and different types of bike
  • Safety – influencing all street users including motorists and large vehicles to help ensure safety and increasing awareness of walking and cycling
  • Information – publicising routes and facilities to help people have the motivation to make every day journeys that include walking and cycling

The project provides three opportunities for anyone to meet the project team in different communities across the Outer Hebrides. These events will be held at:

  • Castlebay Sports Centre, Barra – Wednesday 16th May 7pm-8pm, Thurs 17th May 9am-10am
  • Creagorry Co-op, Linaclate, Benbecula – Thursday 17th May 5pm-8pm
  • Isle of Harris Sports Centre, Tarbert – Friday 18th May (by appointment only - please e-mail: reggie.tricker@arup.com) - 5pm-8pm
  • Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais (ISL) - Lewis Sports Centre, Stornoway,– Saturday 19th May 10am-5pm

If you cannot attend these events, an Online Map (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) will be available from 16th May until 17th June. You will be guided through how you can make your comments. You can also write to CnES at activetravel@cne-siar.gov.uk.

An Active Travel Strategy for the Outer Hebrides will be informed by public participation and will be prepared for the end of June 2018. It is intended that this will go to the Comhairle committees later in 2018. This will determine whether the content of the strategy will be formally adopted and used to guide further walking and cycling investment in the coming years.