AT THE end of May, we launched our Green Transport Recovery Plan which is trialling a range of transport measures to support social distancing and active travel in the wake of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

We have delivered these schemes using a combination of experimental and temporary traffic regulation orders, which allow us to make changes on a temporary basis in order to assess their impact and effectiveness before a decision is taken on whether or not they are made permanent.

This greater flexibility enabled us to react quickly at a time when swift action was imperative to keep people safe.

We understand these are bold and ambitious steps which have generated a range of views.

We were pleased to discuss the plans in more detail at the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee (OSMC) meeting on Thursday 30 July.

We want to thank everyone who attended for sharing their valuable feedback with us.

Following this meeting, we are now looking forward to delivering the next stage of our plans to pedestrianise parts of Bedford Place.

This will create a safer, more spacious environment and enable people walking through this high footfall part of the city to follow social distancing guidelines with greater ease.

These changes will also give businesses in the area additional space to operate safely outdoors and counteract the current challenges of social distancing in a successful and innovative way.

Indeed, we firmly believe that our local economy as a whole serves to benefit greatly from all of the measures in our Green Transport Recovery Plan.

The economic benefits of walking and cycling are widely recognised, with investment in these areas proven to attract more custom and support economic growth.

Encouraging sustainable travel is also crucial to reducing congestion - a significant known constraint on our city’s economy.

In addition to a range of temporary infrastructure projects, the Green Transport Recovery Plan also outlines our aims to enhance the School Streets programme in Southampton.

This is an initiative that sees the roads outside schools closed at drop off and pick up times to create a safer, greener and more attractive environment that enables families to walk, cycle or scoot to school with confidence.

We already have interest from 12 local schools, with one School Streets scheme ready to commence at Shirley Junior School when pupils return in September.

Other projects proposed in the plan, such as those to restrict vehicle access in the city centre, continue to be considered and otherwise remain a crucial part of the plans to be delivered in our Transforming Cities programme.

This three year programme sets out a range of innovative schemes to encourage sustainable travel, not only on key corridors into the city but in local neighbourhoods and residential areas too.

Further information on these plans is available at:

Ultimately, we all want to live in a safer, greener, fairer and healthier city, but this takes commitment and ambition.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time – we need to give these measures a try and really embrace the opportunity we now have for real transformation in our city.

During the course of the lockdown, we saw a significant rise in people walking and cycling.

The temporary measures now in place have given people a chance to stay on their bikes and continue to develop their confidence.

This gives us a unique opportunity to cement these new healthy travel behaviours in the long-term and boost our wider visions for a greener, cleaner future, while continuing to keep all of our resident’s safe at this critical time.

We are continuing to gather feedback from residents, businesses and other key stakeholders while all of these measures are being trialled and encourage everyone to find out more, including how they can have their say, by visiting

Cllr Stephen Leggett

Cabinet member for Green City & Place

Southampton City Council