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Quiet Lanes Campaign Relaunched
by Janet Martin, Chairman of County Branch Transport Campaign Group
In August 2003 CPRE relaunched the Quiet Lanes Campaign with a national press release and the publication of a most informative and helpful information pack.
The Transport Act 2000 contains provisions allowing local highway authorities the powers to designate any of their appropriate roads 'Quiet Lanes' and also allows the designation legal status. However, despite pressure from CPRE and other organisations, the Government has yet to issue statutory regulations to give greater guidance to local authorities.
The 'Quiet Lanes' scheme is being trialed in Norfolk and Kent where partnerships between the Countryside Agency and relevant Local Authorities have been set up. The Countryside Agency has a PACE process (Plan, Activate, Check and Enable) which is used to assist in the monitoring of the schemes. Many County Councils are watching the progress in these two counties and using the results as guidelines in their own decision about how and where to set up their own schemes.
Hampshire County Council (HCC) is one of 19 county metropolitan or unitary authorities who have yet to propose a Quiet Lane scheme – whereas of our immediate neighbours, Wiltshire has between one and five schemes and Dorset, Surrey and the Isle of Wight all have more than five. CPRE Hampshire's Transport Campaign Group (TCG) have asked HCC why they have not entered the scheme and were told that, as it is not yet a requirement of the Transport Act, they are continuing to wait for national guidance and that they will watch with interest to see how schemes operate elsewhere.
Last year the Countryside Agency and the Institute of Civil Engineering published a joint document 'Rural Routes and Networks' (which includes an action plan containing similar elements to CPRE's Quiet Lanes). The TCG has had more success in discussions with HCC's Environment Department Officers about this publication. In its coverage of speed limits, street furniture and sensitive management of rural roads, has enabled the TCG to work to its remit of aiming to bring about the enhancement and improvement of rural transport issues.
Now the re-launched 'Quiet Lanes' initiative will provide an opportunity to highlight the similarity of the schemes. It certainly gives much more of an indication of how the seven CPRE District Groups throughout Hampshire can work with Parish Councils and amenity groups to achieve the recognition of the designation of some routes. The topic will certainly remain on the TCG's Action Plan and we would welcome your feedback about the possible areas to highlight in an approach to the County Council.
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