A ‘GREEN travel’ network in Rugby has expanded thanks to new funding.
Rugby’s Park Connector Network – a system of pathways to encourage walking and cycling – has been extended in New Bilton by new pathways through the Cornwallis Road open space and Freemantle Road play area, connecting to the existing network paths which run through Freemantle Road open space.
New paths also link the network to Madden Place, Dreyer Close and Henry Hinde Junior School.
The expansion was made possible after Rugby Borough Council secured a £25,000 grant from Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund, which supports community projects designed to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions.
Since 2020, the council has laid more than 5,000 metres of new or improved pathways for the Park Connector Network.
Hundreds of eco-friendly, solar-powered lights have been installed on the network to encourage active travel throughout the year.
The Solareye ‘Bat Hat’ lights reduce upward light pollution, which disturbs the movement and feeding patterns of bats and other nocturnal species, impacting biodiversity and the wider ecosystem.
Each light has no cables or sockets, with the battery charging automatically during daylight hours and switching on at dusk. The battery has a lifespan of at least eight years, while each LED light has a lifespan of more than 100,000 hours.
Coun Kathryn Lawrence, the council’s spokeswoman for operations and traded services, said tackling climate change was a corporate priority for the council, having set targets of 2030 for the council to become ‘net zero’ for greenhouse gas emissions and 2050 for the whole borough to reach the ‘net zero’ benchmark.
She said: “We all have a part to play in tackling the global climate emergency and the borough council wants to take a lead in harnessing our residents’ ambitions to work towards a cleaner, greener future for the borough.
“Innovative projects such as the Park Connector Network and the shift towards greater use of active travel have a vital role in reaching our net zero targets while supporting biodiversity and protecting our natural environment.”
WCC’s climate and culture spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “We were delighted to be able to support this project through our Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund.
“Our goal with the £1million fund was to reduce the impact we have on the environment through supporting local community projects that are accessible to all, and the expansion of the Park Connector Network does exactly that.
“We hope that residents will now choose to walk or cycle more often and leave the car behind, even if just occasionally.
“Not only does this reduce carbon emissions, but active travel is also great for physical and mental health and wellbeing, and it can save money that might otherwise be spent on fuel and parking.”
Visit www.rugbynetzero.co.uk for more information about Rugby’s efforts to reaching net zero.