NEW bus lanes planned for North Somerset should be rolled out over a period of up to a decade — not two-to-three years — the council’s transport chief has said.

The council has installed four bus lane schemes around the district since it was handed £48m in government “bus service improvement plan” (BSIP) funding in 2022, beginning with the one on the Long Ashton bypass a year ago.

But last month the council paused the roll out of the rest of the planned bus lanes until November — after warnings from the public and councillors that the lanes are causing more trouble than they are worth.

Now North Somerset Council’s executive member for highways and transport Hannah Young (Clevedon South, Labour) has said the local authority should roll out the schemes over a period of up to a decade.

She told a full council meeting on May 14: “The volume of schemes we are trying to deliver is really challenging and those sorts of changes we should be looking at on a seven-to-10 year basis not a two-to-three year basis, hence why we wanted to look at the pause currently and make sure that we understand how these schemes are working in order to feed into the next stage.”

The council is due to re-examine its strategy for using the funding in a “BSIP refresh.”

Dr Young said the council would have “less focus” on bus lanes, and said: “[We] are looking at other aspects of bus priority, which includes things like the infrastructure around bus stops and waiting areas, and ‘first and last mile’ to get to a bus stop which I know has come up particularly in rural areas.”

She was responding to a question from Thomas Daw (Wrington, Green) on the Brockley Combe crossroads, the latest BSIP scheme.

He said: “With the Brockley crossroads now having had a couple of months to bed in, residents and I are still deeply concerned about the safety and the functionality of the traffic coming from Weston.

“I am told over again it is a matter of signalling. Is this still the case or do we need to look at other approaches to fix this? And what lessons can we take away from this to put into the BSIP refresh and make sure we don’t have these kinds of problems again?”

Dr Young said that CCTV had been collected at the junction and it “hasn’t raised any safety concerns,” but said that more work was still being done to the junction, with additional markings to be painted to ensure cars were moving into available space, and further changes to be worked on with the “intelligent lights” in the next month.

She said: “Until all of those things have been done I don’t think we are in a position to say it’s finished, and it’s bedded in, and it’s not working.”

She added that “lessons learnt from Brockley” would be discussed at a meeting of the council’s transport, climate, and communities scrutiny panel on June 27, along the other three BSIP schemes: the Long Ashton bypass bus lanes, the bus lanes at Barrow Gurney on the A38, and the bus lane on Abbots Leigh Road.