A positive consequence of the pandemic and lockdown has been the growth in active travel. Many people used their exercise time during lockdown to discover new walks or cycle routes in their local area and continued to explore as restrictions eased. This is good for health and wellbeing, as well as the local economy and tourism, and should be supported as we begin the process of recovering from Covid.
East Lothian is in a fantastic position to capitalise on this growth in walking and cycling. It boasts some of the most beautiful countryside and coastal areas in Scotland, as well as many fantastic visitor attractions and great hospitality.
East Lothian Council has an Active Travel Improvement Plan which guides its policies on this agenda, including investment in making routes safer and more accessible. However, there is always more that can be done to encourage and enhance this activity.
The new pump track in Ormiston park is a great example of a community facility aimed at fostering an enjoyment of cycling and other track activities.
I was pleased to see that Sportscotland’s Cycling Facilities Fund has made an award to East Lothian Council of £50,000 to fund a project to develop a new pump track in North Berwick. I look forward to seeing progress on this important new facility and am sure that these pump tracks will inspire other communities to consider pursuing their own projects.
I am also supporting the campaign for a new path between Drem and Gullane. It has faced many obstacles to progress over the years. However, Sustrans Scotland recently awarded East Lothian Council £30,000 to examine design options for the first section of a path and I hope this will help the project to advance.
Enhancing active travel opportunities is an issue that unites people and I look forward to continued consensus on the next steps for improving active travel across East Lothian.