Essex Highways, Safer, Greener, Healthier

Cycling programme

On this page you will find 




Cycling StrategyThe Essex Cycling Strategy document in PDF

The Essex Cycling Strategy aims to encourage Essex residents, workers and visitors to enjoy the health benefits of cycling, which also offers an affordable travel choice for journeys around our towns. As well as encouraging more leisure and family bike rides to enjoy the Essex countryside.

The strategy will act as the over-arching policy framework to Enable, Provide and Promote cycling in Essex.

Cycling programme

Increasing cycling is being encouraged at all levels, the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy sets a national policy framework and at a local level the Essex Cycling Strategy takes a county specific approach which aims to ENABLE, PROMOTE and PROVIDE cycling in Essex. 

A programme of activities has been developed to implement the strategy which has projects and schemes which are in various stages of delivery. In order to keep you updated of the progress taking place we have provided a Programme Dashboard below and key schemes in the tiles below.

Programme dashboard 2017/18

Programme Theme - Enable

Programme Theme - Provide

Programme Theme - Enable

Status - Green

Status - Amber

Status - Amber

Priority 1

Transformational Funding

Priority 2

Coherent Networks

Priority 3

Best Practice Design

Recent Achievements:

£3m Cycling Capital

Bids to SELEP and Defra

Recent Achievements:

12 x Cycling Action Plan completion

Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford

Flagship routes Basildon and Harlow

Recent Achievements:

Essex Cycle Design Forum

Cycle Design Champions

Hybrid Cycle Tracks - CCGP

Forward Look:

Priority 1

Transformational Funding

Forward Look:

Priority 2

Coherent Networks

Forward Look:

Priority 3

Behavioural Change

During the past three years the Essex has made significant progress towards delivering the aims and objectives set out in the Essex Cycling Strategy. 

Highlights of our renewed approach to increasing cycling levels in Essex are detailed within the Essex Cycling Strategy Programme Highlghts 2017-19 (3MB) report which provides evidence of a long-term vision that will lead to a significant and sustained increase in cycling within our County.

Work in Progress:


Coherent Cycle Networks

Essex County Council is committed to fulfilling the aims and objectives of its Cycling Strategy and Infrastructure and coherent networks are key components. To support our strategy we have also published draft cycle network plans for all District areas of Essex – see below. To enable a start on our ambitious plans to be made, ECC has identified £3m to be spent over the years 2018/19 to 2020/21. We are presently evaluating a number of possible routes for implementation but priorities include Flagship routes, these are currently being evaluated using the new Department for Transport (DfT), Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP) tools and methodology. 

In addition to this bespoke budget, other funding is being used such as that from the Local Enterprise Partnership for Chelmsford, where a number of cycle routes will be upgraded or created over this and subsequent financial years. A number of crossings, public realm enhancements and cycle routes are being programmed representing 13 schemes as part of the approximately £15m Chelmsford Growth Package. 

With regards to planning for subsequent years, we were selected by the Department for Transport to be part of the LCWIP programme (mentioned above) which aims to develop network plans for both walking and cycling. This will enable us to prioritise investment decisions based upon a robust methodology which considers future demand and the propensity to both walk and cycle. 

Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans 

The programme aims to help us build upon the Cycling Actions Plans (see below) and develop network plans for both walking and cycling across Essex. This will enable the county council to prioritise investment decisions based upon a robust methodology which considers future demand and the propensity to both walk and cycle. The longer term vision is for LCWIPs to be developed in all major urban areas across Essex as and when resources become available.

Cycling Action Plans

We are committed to establishing a coherent, comprehensive and advantageous cycle network in every major urban area, utilising a combination of on-carriageway and off-carriageway cycle facilities. To enable this, each Borough/ District in Essex has an up-to-date Cycling Action Plan (renewed every five years). These are seen as key elements of a long term plan that will lead to a significant and sustained increase in cycling in Essex.

Following are draft Cycling Action Plans and, although the potential schemes have been developed in discussion with stakeholders, further consultation is required before the routes can be finalised.

Flagship Routes 

A Flagship Cycle Route is a key corridor providing safer, faster and more direct access to one or more key attractors (Town Centres, employment sites, education establishments, transport hubs, visitor attractions and existing/proposed developments). The routes will be on high demand corridors, be able to meet demand (both existing and potential), encourage a focus on innovation/design best practice and will include continental standard facilities, where appropriate. 

It is hoped that a county-wide suite of Flagship Routes will be a focus for future funding, high quality infrastructure, design best practice and innovation.


Governance of the Essex Cycling Strategy

Essex cycling advocate

We want to ensure that the promotion and development of cycling is embedded in everything we do as a Council. In order to achieve this, we have appointed an Essex Cycling Advocate at Member level who is a high profile advocate of cycling in Essex, educates and inspires other elected Members, champions the outworking of the Essex Cycling Strategy and chairs a quarterly Essex Cycling Steering Group.

Essex Cycling Steering Group

The Essex Cycling Steering Group (ECSG) is made up of representatives from key cycling infrastructure providers, promoters and partners in Essex (including ECC Economic Growth & Development, Public Health, Active Essex, Essex Police, Sustrans, CTC, rail operators and voluntary organisations). The group co-ordinates cycling related schemes and activities, monitors their progress, reports on outcomes and shares examples of best practice.

Essex cycling programme

In addition to the delivery of the strategy through both Engagement and Local Plans, there is a formalised programme to deliver the strategy, a programme group has been established which oversees the key strategy components (Enable, Promote and Provide) and the work streams of activities will deliver the Strategy.

Essex cycling infrastructure

 To update on cycle infrastructure scheme progress across the county, identify opportunities and plan future programmes

Essex cycling ambassadors

In order to help increase support for local initiatives, Change the image of cycling in Essex to a safe, normal and enjoyable everyday activity and help promote a ‘Cycle Essex’ brand Active Essex has been commissioned to deliver a project initially called Essex Cycling Ambassadors (ECA) to emulate the highly successful “This Girl Can” Ambassador programme. The ECAs are developing key messages to enable a social movement marketing campaign. For more information and to find out how to become an Ambassador visit the Active Essex website.

Key personnel embedded in target organisations

To help promote active and sustainable transport across Essex we work closely with Public Health, Active Essex, Country Parks, etc,

Transformational funding

A step change in the provision of cycling infrastructure and promotion will require an increase in funding over and above the current level of funding for cycling in Essex.

Behavioural change/revenue funding

Essex County Council and stakeholders have assessed funding opportunities to broaden the funding mix in Essex inc. Inactivity and Economic disadvantage partnership bid with Sustrans, EU H2020 regarding Essex becoming a living lab for cycling innovation, Highways England Cycling, Integration and Safety Fund, Network Rails Access for All Cycle Rail Programme, Working with Public Health to develop grant funding for an Active Travel Business.

Access Fund. Department for Transport funding to develop the South Essex Active Travel programme – see our Local Initiatives page.

Capital funding

Essex County Council and stakeholders have assessed funding opportunities to broaden the funding mix in Essex inc. Inactivity and Economic disadvantage partnership bid with Sustrans, EU H2020 regarding Essex becoming a living lab for cycling innovation, Highways England Cycling, Integration and Safety Fund, Network Rails Access for All Cycle Rail Programme, Working with Public Health to develop grant funding for an Active Travel Business.

Essex County Council has through the Chelmsford City Growth Package secured £15 million to be invested in sustainable transport methods designed to help alleviate pressure on Chelmsford’s road network. These improvements to the network need to be made by 2021 and include 11 cycle improvement schemes.

Regeneration via Integrated Transport Packages across a number of the county’s town including cycling infrastructure (e.g. Basildon ITP).

To enable a start on our ambitious plans to be made, Essex County Council has identified £3m to be spent on cycling infrastructure over the years 2018/19 to 2020/21. 

A pipeline / Journey to Delivery for capital investment scheme implementation has been developed for Essex Highways Cycling Infrastructure schemes which includes: 

  • Essex Cycling Strategy. Adopted by Essex County Council in 2016.
  • Cycling Action Plans (CAPs). Strategic cycling network planning in every major urban area, utilising a combination of on-carriageway and off-carriageway cycle facilities. The top three prioritised schemes from each CAP will form part of the Essex Highways Advanced Scheme Design programme going forward.
  • Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs), as set out in the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, are a new, strategic approach to identifying cycling and walking improvements required at the local level. ECC have been awarded technical support to assist in the production of LCWIPs from the DfT – see above.
  • Advanced Scheme Design (ASD). To ensure ECC are primed for future cycling infrastructure funding opportunities and to make sure the cycling infrastructure we design looks attractive, serves its purpose and encourages more people to cycle.
  • Capital for Cycling Infrastructure inc: ECC £3m Capital Investment, South East Local Enterprise Partnership Local Growth Fund, Defra Early Measures fund
  • Through ongoing liaison with Strategic Development, s106 teams and LHP Officers the ESCL has established a method to ensure increasing utilisation and prioritisation of capital funding – Cycling Action Plans are fast becoming a vital tool in scheme development and funding allocation.

Best practice design

We are committed to ensuring that the cycling infrastructure we design looks attractive, serves its purpose and encourages more people to cycle.

In order to facilitate this the following initiatives are already underway:

  • Chelmsford City Growth Package demonstrates how ECC are looking at continental and UK best practice when it comes to cycle design. Hybrid cycle tracks, luminescent paint and pre-timed max crossings are being considered.
  • Cycle Design Champions. Creation of a network of Cycle Infrastructure experts within Essex Highways. This will create a support network of experienced cycle infrastructure experts to help/challenge designers of new schemes.
  • The ECSL has established the annual Essex Cycle Design Forum assessing the effectiveness of existing and new cycling infrastructure, engaging with local stakeholders and sharing best practice across the county. 
  • Essex Cycle Design Portal. To help us achieve ‘Best Practice’ cycle design across Essex, we’ve been working to bring together ideas for an Essex Cycle Design Portal. The aim is that the portal will be a specific Essex Cycling Design guide that incorporates national best practice and provides a ‘tool kit’ for cycle route assessment and design.
  • Training sessions from external stakeholders and partners e.g. Cyclehoop, Sustrans etc.
  • Working in partnership with Jacobs Major Projects team the ECSL has organised study trips for designers, planners and members to see examples of good cycling design practice first hand in other UK towns and cities e.g. Cambridge.
  • Through the recruitment of 'Cycle Design Champions' and Cycle Design Surgeries held across the Essex Highways Framework the ECSL has created a support network of experienced cycle infrastructure experts to help/challenge designers of new schemes
  • Working with TP colleagues, Ringway Jacobs, ECC and Jacobs Health and Safety Executive the ECSL has helped establish correct PPE, TSPAs and RAMs requirements for cycle site visits.
  • The ECSL has introduced continental cycle standards and best practice design to Essex Highways through on-going consultation and engagement. A number of high profile schemes inc. Danish style hybrid cycle tracks and Tiger crossings are moving through design phases and are due for delivery.
  • New exciting cycling infrastructure (e.g. Castle Park bridge, Broomfield Road Hybrid Cycle Track, Hamstel Road Tiger crossing, luminescent materials on Boxted Road Bridge) 
  • Promote 20 mph/shared space (e.g. Bond St, Lexden Road, Mill Yard etc)
  • Essex Framework Cycling RAMS - PPE Exemption. This will allow more engineers/designers to cycle the route of their proposed measures to ensure that they understand the issues on the ground 


A ‘Cycle Essex’ brand

In order to maximise the benefit of good quality cycle facilities, there needs to be a significant increase in the promotion of these facilities and an encouragement of cycling in general.

Therefore we have:

  • Refreshed webpages and information on cycling
  • #CycleEssex Twitter feed providing and sharing information on cycling in Essex
  • Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Bike Region Label. The UCI were very impressed by the plans presented by Essex, and will eagerly follow the outcomes of the Essex Cycling Strategy, they felt that it may be too early to award the label as the region has not recently hosted a UCI World Cup or World Championship, nor has any set in the coming years.
  • Raised the profile of cycling in Essex by submitting a bid to the National Transport Awards 2017 Excellence in Cycling and Walking
  • Developed a strategic approach to Behavioural Change and modal shift
  • A combined approach regarding a Behavioural Change programme in Basildon - combining Defra Air quality, SEAT and Sport England LDP campaigns. 

High profile events

Delivering high profile events in Essex is a task for both the County Council and our key partners. To achieve the level of ambition we have set ourselves in the Cycling Strategy we will require joined up approaches and collaborations with our partners, to bring together the knowledge and expertise from a range of organisations for the purposes of raising the profile of cycling. In addition to successfully attracting high profile cycling events to the County that have been well attended by the public we also support a number of national and international initiatives.

Examples include:

  • We support Bike Week which is an annual opportunity to promote cycling, and show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. Demonstrating the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling, the week aims to get people to give cycling a go all over the UK, whether this be for fun, as a means of getting around to work or school, the local shops or just to visit friends.
  • We support Cycle to Work Day. Cycle to Work Day is an annual celebration of cycling. It’s the perfect opportunity for employees who haven’t tried cycling to work before to give it a go in a fun and friendly environment. And for those of you who cycle regularly – another great reason to hit the road. Best of all – everyone who pledges to take part on the Cycle to Work website will be entered into a prize draw. To find out more and pledge to take part, visit 
  • We support and promotes United Nations World Bicycle Day. Acknowledging the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health, the General Assembly decided to declare 3 June World Bicycle Day.
  • We promote EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK which encourages us to explore the many different options available for getting from A to B, and to think about the mode that best suits our particular journey. Find out more by visiting EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK

Increased support for local initiatives

Local initiatives are particularly effective at engaging with people on a personal level. We support community providers/charities who are already developing/promoting cycling well. See the ‘Local Maps and Initiatives’ pages within this website for some of the local initiatives already supported by Essex County Council.

Other examples include: 

  • Isle of Wight 'Bicycle Island' research. A key aim of the project is to capture data from new, novice or lapsed cyclists who participate in cycling experiences while on holiday on the Isle of Wight, with a view to encouraging the same participants to continue to cycle more often when they return home. 
  • Dockless Bike Sharing. Could it be coming to Essex? Watch this space.
  • SEAT. South Essex Active Travel will facilitate a step-change in the area’s approach to sustainable transport; using targeted travel engagement with jobseekers, young people, newly recruited employees, students, lower socio-economic communities and volunteers so they can use active travel to get to work, training and educational opportunities and fully contribute to the local economy. Targeting six local Growth Areas, the programme will increase active travel by tailoring packages of advice, support and promotion to each of these groups – enhancing their access to the 12,100 new jobs and 10,500 education and training opportunities available in South Essex over the next three years.
  • Colchester Bike Kitchen, Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen, Clacton Bicycle Kitchen and Jaywick Bicycle Kitchen are DIY community bike workshops run by volunteers. In return for a small donation you can use their tools either on your own or under the supervision of their friendly mechanics. Watch the Wivenhoe and Essex Bike Kitchen’s film.
  • The Cake Escape. The cake escape is encouraging Essex residents and visitors alike to grab their bikes and cycle through some of the most beautiful places in Essex. The cake escape combines a little exercise with exploration of the countryside and the best of local café culture.
  • Essex County Council Pool bikes. For those without a bike ECC staff have access to a range of pool bike at County Hall which are free to use for all ECC employees and those of partner organisations. There is a selection of men’s and women’s bikes, as well as folding bikes, and all are completely free to borrow for up to one month. Helmets are also available, as well as reflective jackets and ankle slap-bands to keep clothing away from the chain. The bikes and storage compound at County Hall have recently undergone a big clean-up operation, each bike now has its own protective cover. The bikes have also been fully serviced to ensure there are no squeaky brakes or missing lights – so it will feel like you’re riding a brand new bike!
  • Safer Essex Roads Partnership (whole county): 75 training places of adult cycle training and maintenance, delivered via a workplace road safety programme
  • Braintree Easy Riders (Braintree): Learn to Ride, confidence rides, Dr Bike, weekly and evening rides, partnership working with local employers and schools, and exploring holding a Bike Fest next year
  • Sustrans (whole county): The recruitment and coordination of volunteers, to work on National Cycle Network upkeep and to host led rides
  • En-form Clean Air Heroes (whole county): Promotion of active travel to and from school in certain weeks, with schools setting themselves targets to aspire to. Awarded bronze, silver or gold according to active travel levels, with prize money awarded to local good causes
  • En-form Hadleigh Park Riders (Castle Point and Rochford): Led rides and learn to ride courses, all aimed at children and families, focused on Hadleigh and other country parks
  • Witham Boys’ Brigade (Braintree): Cycle maintenance workshops, led rides, Bikeability for those with learning difficulties and le Tour de Witham
  • Trailnet (Brentwood): Health rides, including Improvers' Rides; contributing to Cycle Brentwood; including rides for those with disabilities; and refurbishing old bikes for sale, with bike maintenance training
  • Cycle Colchester (Colchester): Maintaining core, established information services for cycling in the town, working in partnership with other bodies, including the police, to increase the ease with which people can cycle.