Cash for improvements to cycle path
IMPROVEMENTS are set to be made to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path between Staple Hill and Bitton after a project won government funding.
Charity Sustrans, which helps run the stretch of the path with South Gloucestershire Council, said a project to upgrade drainage, resurface aging sections of the path and improve access points had won a share of £30 million under the Department for Transport's Summer of Cycling & Walking investment scheme to improve infrastructure for "active travel".
The announcement comes as the council and Sustrans launch an appeal for volunteers to join a new group to help maintain the path between the Staple Hill tunnel and Rodway Hill.
The amount which will be made available for improvements has not been revealed but Sustrans south of England director James Cleeton said it would be used to tackle issues which make the path more difficult to use, including flooding near the Staple Hill tunnel.
He said: “We are aware of flooding on some stretches that can make it impassable. By sorting this, we will be able to give everyone who wants to use the path the confidence that even in bad weather the path will be open.
"This enables thousands of people to travel by foot or by wheel every day on this traffic-free, green and bio-diverse corridor."
South Gloucestershire cabinet member for strategic infrastructure Steve Reade said: "More and more people are making active travel choices to stay fit and ease congestion and we want to ensure we are doing all we can to help them move around the area in safe, healthy and sustainable ways."
Sustrans is working with the council to extend the OnePath improvement project from Bristol across the South Gloucestershire boundary, including setting up a volunteer group to maintain the path through Staple Hill and Mangotsfield.
The charity's head of partnerships, Jon Usher, said the group would coordinate with the council and local nature groups to help manage the path.
A council spokesperson said: "This would involve volunteers helping to keep the path clear, litter picking and supporting with the management of important wildlife habitat along certain sections.
"We have already had discussions with some local groups and we are keen to hear from anyone else who may be interested in taking part."
The volunteers would provide a missing link between existing groups for East Bristol and Bath, who sometimes link up to tackle jobs on sections of the path in South Gloucestershire.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering to help maintain the path can show an interest by emailing GreenSpace.Volunteering@southglos.gov.uk.