10th June 2017
Take on the Bike Week Cycle Challenge
People across Devon are being urged to take part in the Bike Week Cycle Challenge which starts on Saturday (10 June).
Devon County Council is running the challenge during Bike Week, from 10-18 June, to encourage ‘everyday cycling for everyone’ across the county.
The Cycle Challenge is a friendly competition where prizes are available for cycling, encouraging others to cycle and sharing inspiring cycling stories.
Individuals can register to take part in the Devon Cycle Challenge at www.lovetoride.net/devon Ride for 10 minutes or more and you can record your trips manually or automatically by using an app.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “Bike Week is a great opportunity to promote cycling and give people the chance see the health, social and environmental benefits of cycling. Cycling is for everyone and we’ve seen how the Devon Cycle Challenges over the last two years have successfully inspired people to get on their bikes. Hopefully the latest challenge will help people realise how they can make cycling be part of everyday life.”
The latest Co-bikes docking station will also be launched at County Hall on Tuesday (13 June). Riders can hire, ride and drop off the electric bikes off at any Co-bikes site across its network, which currently covers Exeter Central Station, the University of Exeter, Sowton Park and Ride and Exeter Civic Centre.
Free two hour cycle confidence sessions are also available for anyone wanting to boost their confidence before getting back on their bike. This can be booked online at https://www.traveldevon.info/cycle/cycle-training/adults/
Bike Week is the biggest nationwide cycling event in the UK and aims to help people rethink their everyday journeys and switch to cycling as the most convenient way to get around.
For more information about Bike Week go to http://bikeweek.org.uk/us/
16th February 2017
Shaldon Bridge will be closed to all vehicles and pedestrians on Friday (17 February) from 0830 until 2130.
Devon County Council is undertaking a trial opening following recent repairs, refurbishment and adjustments.
The opening will be gradual to allow for further adjustment and maintenance as required.
Cranes will be on site for safety reasons for inspections within the structure at different phases of the operation.
The alternative, signed, route for vehicles will be via Teignmouth Road, B3199, Riviera Way, A380, Torquay Road, Besignheim Way, and vice versa.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:
“While it is many years since the 85 year old lifting span was opened for commercial reasons, there is an Act of Parliament requiring it to remain operational and be kept in working order so it can be opened, at a cost, for passage of vessels.
“The bridge was partially lifted in October, but a problem with the mechanical winding gear meant it could not be fully opened.
“We’ve now carried out repairs and are ready to trial opening it again.
“It is likely that the bridge will be fully opened on Friday, which will be the first time in over a decade, and if our repair works have been successful the bridge should be fully operational.
“We appreciate that this closure will cause some disruption, and we have scheduled the work to take place during the half term break to minimise this.”
2nd February 2017
Travel advice: Be aware of possible surface water and debris on Devon's roads
Devon County Council is urging people to be prepared for the potential of
disruption on the county’s roads caused by surface water and debris overnight
Road users are being advised to plan their journey and take care following the Met Office warning for strong winds and rain.
Gusts could reach up to 60mph this evening and tomorrow morning, particularly on exposed coasts, but the strongest winds are expected to have cleared the county by Friday night.
The County Council is warning people to be alert to the possibility of fallen trees and landslips, especially on rural roads and coastal routes, and to take particular care on exposed bridges.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Highway Management, said: “We’ve had a lot of persistent rain over the last few days and most of the county is already saturated. With the forecast of more heavy rain and strong winds, travelling conditions may be difficult across the county and could cause delays and disruption overnight and tomorrow. Drains may not be able to cope with high levels of rainfall, so I would urge everyone to be wary of the possibility of surface water flooding.
“Please remember not to attempt to drive through closed roads or floodwater and, if conditions are stormy, please keep away from exposed coasts. If people need sandbags they should contact their local district or town council.”
Further wet and windy weather is expected in Devon over the course of the weekend, and there is the possibility of freezing road temperatures and the risk of ice, particularly on higher ground, on Friday night.
For more information on flooding, roads and travel advice visit: www.devon.gov.uk/winter or on Twitter follow @DevonAlert
1st February 2017
County Council welcomes LGA's commercial SatNav calls for HGV's
Devon County Council has welcomed the Local Government Association’s (LGA) calls for local authorities to be given powers to tackle lorry drivers that flout height and weight restrictions.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, wants all lorry drivers who use satnavs to be compelled to use commercial models which
enable the driver to enter the lorry's dimensions so they are only guided along suitable roads.
It’s asking the Government to enable councils to take enforcement action where necessary to enforce weight and width restrictions.
In Devon, there have been more than a dozen incidents in the past two years involving HGVs which have ended up on unsuitable roads while using their sat navs. This includes a lorry which shed its load of pig flesh at Lower Marlpits Hill in Honiton, in November last year. And in 2012, a lorry became jammed in New Road in Bickleigh, near Plymouth, for more than 24 hours, and a delivery lorry became wedged on the corner of Cross Street and High Street in Barnstaple.
Devon County Council is also due to install CCTV cameras at Holne New Bridge, near Ashburton, in order to protect the Grade II listed structure, which has been damaged 67 times in the past 18 years.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “I’m pleased that the LGA has raised this issue. We recognise that it goes beyond being a nuisance for communities and significant damage can be caused, not just to buildings and historic structures such as Holne New Bridge, but also degradation over time of the highway itself. This includes increased numbers of potholes, verges being destroyed and damaged footways.
“At this point we’re extremely limited in meaningful action that can be taken against companies given the evidence required to pursue a case and signage often seems to be ignored. We would also welcome companies helping themselves by making it clear to their hauliers the nature of the local highway network and appropriate routes to follow when accessing their sites.”
The Government has handed powers under the Traffic Management Act (2004) to local authorities in Wales, and London (under different legislation), to take action if lorry drivers break the law. The LGA says Councils across the country should be handed the same powers.
23rd January 2017
CCTV Goes Live at Holne New Bridge
Round the clock CCTV sentries on Devon’s
most bashed bridge go live today (Monday 23 January) and will capture
hit-and-run motorists on camera.
The Grade II listed 604-year-old Holne New Bridge, near Ashburton, has been hit and damaged 67 times since 1999.
Damage has included coping stones of up to 200 kilos being knocked into the river.
The narrowness of the medieval bridge means that there are vehicle length and width restrictions, with vehicle-size warning signs at Dartmeet and from the Ashburton direction.
But regardless of the warnings the New Bridge has been repeatedly damaged, and because of the remoteness of the moorland crossing there are rarely any witnesses, except when buses and articulated lorries have got themselves stuck.
As a result damages have been recovered on just on five occasions.
The technology, installed by DCC’s Bridges team, will help protect 15th-century crossing and save money by recovering the cost of repairs from careless motorists.
Reducing damage will mean fewer closures and make life easier for those who drive carefully.
The bridge, over the Dart near Ashburton, is on one the main routes across the moor.
The two discreetly placed CCTV cameras have the latest in number plate and facial recognition technology. If one camera is tampered they will be captured by the other camera.
The real time feed will be monitored by staff at County Hall in Exeter and by the Bridge Maintenance team by using smart phone technology.
The bridge will be monitored 24-hours-day, seven days a week.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways said: “Holne New Bridge has been around for hundreds of years, since Henry V was crowned king of England, and should stand around for hundreds more - as long as drivers stop bashing into it.”
Devon has 3500 bridges, more than any other highways authority and he added: “Typically total bridge damage repairs cost £100,000 a year, but already by Christmas we had spent £120,000 just in the South Area which includes just a third of all our bridges.
“Modifying the bridge isn’t possible on conservation grounds and further traffic restrictions are not viable because of the impact on the local community and businesses.
“The cameras will identify the vehicles and drivers. We understand that accidents can happen and if damage has occurred initially we will approach the driver and try to come to an arrangement.
“But if the driver fails to respond, is a repeat offender or the damage is severe and they fail to stop we will pass their details onto the police.”
18th January 2017
Bikeability cycle training in Devon has reached a major milestone, with 50,000 children now having taken part in the scheme.
Bow Primary School pupil Harry Pitman is the 50,000th Bikeability trainee in the county, and to mark the occasion Devon County Council, which provides the training, presented him with a special certificate and a Bike Shed voucher.
Schoolchildren who take part in Bikeability are equipped with skills to help them deal confidently with traffic on short journeys, such as cycling to school.
Harry Pitman, aged 10, achieved Bikeability Level 2 in October. He said: “Bikeability is a really good idea. Going out on the roads was really great, especially as I cycle to school. I learnt which part of the road to ride on, how to overtake parked cars safely, by looking over my shoulder first, how to turn left and to signal first.”
Cllr Stuart Hughes Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said
"Congratulations to Harry on being our 50,000th trainee, and we must also say thanks to the tens of thousands of others who have taken part in Bikeability in Devon over the years to help us reach this fantastic milestone. It’s an incredible achievement. We’ve been very successful in receiving funding from the Department for Transport to deliver Bikeability, and we are on course to train 10,000 children this financial year. The scheme has become an integral part of our sustainable transport planning over the years. Bikeability provides essential cycling skills and confidence to the next generation of cyclists while also helping to improve their road safety awareness.”
Lesley Hodgson, Headteacher at Bow Primary School said: “I am absolutely delighted that we can offer this valuable life skill to the pupils at Bow Primary School. For our children, who live in a rural location, being road aware is an essential life skill, one that they can use on a daily basis as they cycle to and from school and continue to use, long after they have left our school. The fact that Bow pupils enjoy the course so much is a real bonus; what’s more, children can participate even if they don’t have a bike of their own, as the Bikeability tutors will bring spare bikes to the school, providing everyone who wants to learn the opportunity to do so. I’m very proud of the school’s commitment in supporting our young people in their development of an essential life-long skill, and thrilled that one of our pupils – Harry Pitman – is the 50,000th participant to have passed through the Bikeability scheme.”
Nationally, more than two million young people have taken part in Bikeability training since its launch almost ten years ago.
Over the past nine years, Devon County Council has successfully bid for nearly £2 million to deliver cycle training in Devon. The County Council has also received funding to deliver new “Bikeability Plus” modules, such as Bikeability Balance, Bikeability Parents and Bikeability Learn to Ride, to nearly 900 children.
16th January 2017
New cashless on-street parking payment system saves drivers money
Drivers in Devon are benefitting from cheaper cashless parking thanks to a new system that has been rolled out across the county.
Devon County Council has partnered with Bemrose Mobile to deliver the new cashless payment service, taking over from previous provider RingGo.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for on street parking, explains:
“Offering cashless payment means motorists don’t have to worry about having the right change in their pockets when they use our on-street parking areas.
“Having Bemrose Mobile provide the service in Devon offers a significant saving for drivers with a convenience charge of just 3p per transaction compared to the previous 20p charge.
“Cashless has proved to be a popular payment option since we launched it six years ago, which is great news as a the service means we will eventually be able to reduce the costs associated with providing a physical pay and display system, such as machine maintenance and cash collection.
“The option to pay by cash is still available for those who prefer the traditional method, but I would encourage everyone to have a go at using this new service and discover how easy and convenient it is.”
The new system offers drivers the option to pay for their parking by credit or debit card by entering a four digit location code displayed at the site. Payment can be made by phone, SMS, via an app or on the internet. Drivers can also set up an account so that paying for parking is even quicker and more convenient as they won’t have to enter their details each time they park.
Stickers informing customers of the change are displayed on all Devon County Council on-street parking machines.