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28th Jun, 2022

New transport and highways chief looking for 'commonsense solutions' to Worcestershire's traffic issues

Ross Crawford 20th May, 2022

THE new transport and highways chief for the county council says he is all for ‘commonsense solutions’ to Worcestershire’s traffic problems.

Councillor Mike Rouse (Con, Redditch South) replaces the long serving Alan Amos in the Cabinet at County Hall and says he is already familiar with many of the region’s traffic problems.

However he warned: “There’s no silver bullet answer to it all, there needs to be detailed work at a granular level to find solutions for each individual case.”

The county has in the past come in for considerable criticism over a perceived failure to take advantage of Active Travel initiatives from Central Government, and Coun Rouse said his appointment represented a chance to look at things anew.

“With every refresh there is the opportunity to look at what we’ve done in the past and ask ourselves if there is a way of doing things better in the future,” he said.

“What lessons can be learned?

“I’m already someone who spends a lot of time going around Worcestershire and so for instance I’m familiar with the traffic in Worcester on a Saturday.

“I’m also looking forward to spending time with each county councillor in their divisions and looking at the individual issues they are facing.”

On the issue of Active Travel – encouraging people out of their cars and into walking, cycling or using public transport – he said it was important that it was done for the right reasons.

“Clearly Active Travel is something that can help ease congestion, particularly in Worcester and Evesham.

“I know members in Evesham are very keen on it and it will play an important role going forward.

“However it’s important that we support people no matter how they choose to move, to make sure they have positive options that enable them to make positive choices around Active Travel.

“That they feel safe, they feel supported and the facilities are there to help them.

“For instance, if they choose to cycle, is there somewhere for them to securely lock their bike?”

He added: “A lot of it is about finding commonsense solutions.

“What we can do is encourage and nudge people to make Active Travel choices as a positive decision of what they want to do.”

The county’s Green Party has been active in pushing for the county’s district authorities to have greater freedom to introduce 20mph zones where appropriate, to which he said: “I’m relatively convinced on the 20 is Plenty issue and I’m all for devolution to the districts where it’s sensible.

“But it has to be the right solution in the right place that will not cause unintentional safety concerns.

“It’s a case of let’s have a look at it and see if it’s going to make things better.”

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