Proposal to reduce traffic on rural roads withdrawn

Map of rural roads

A map showing the rural roads which would have been subject to the Traffic Regulation Order. - Credit: North Somerset Council

A proposal to restrict access on rural roads in North Somerset has been withdrawn and council leaders have apologised for failing to inform the public before notices went up.

Last week, North Somerset Council announced plans to introduce a new Traffic Regulation Order on rural roads between Nailsea, Backwell, Clevedon and Yatton.

The authority wants to make the roads safer by stopping HGVs and through traffic from using the country lanes, while maintaining normal use for local residents, improving access for businesses and tourists and protecting the environment.

However, the proposal led to thousands of objections from residents who were concerned about losing access to the roads, and adding to traffic congestion in towns and villages.

North Somerset Council has now withdrawn the plan to give residents a chance to help shape the proposals.

Cllr James Tonkin, the council’s executive member for planning, highways and transport, said: “Last week, the council invited residents to respond to plans to reduce volumes of traffic on rural roads using a Traffic Regulation Order. In this instance, we have not provided our communities with enough information about the objectives of the ‘quiet rural lanes’ proposals, and so the Traffic Regulation Order has caused understandable concern. 

“This is not how we usually engage with our communities and we are sorry that, on this occasion, we’ve not provided the necessary information or context in advance of notices going up. 

“So far, we have received a broad range of both positive and negative responses to the proposals. This has demonstrated and reiterated the importance of local views in taking them forward. As such, we are withdrawing the Traffic Regulation Order so we can offer a more inclusive and comprehensive package of engagement.  

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“We want to get it right on the ‘quiet rural lanes’ project and to do that we need to have the community with us and not against us. In putting residents at the forefront of our approach, that is exactly what we strive to do.” 

The council will develop new plans to engage with residents on the Government-funded ‘rural quiet lanes’ proposals.

These plans will include a range of forums where local people can respond, including a webinar and question and answer sessions. More details on the consultations are expected in the next few weeks.