Expansion of programme for walking, cycling and safer routes

Thanks to a significant increase in Scottish Government funding for cycling, walking and safer routes schemes last year, East Lothian Council embarked on an ambitious programme of works. A shortlist of projects was drawn up with some for immediate delivery, and others still in the very early stages.

A notable construction project in 2022 was the surfacing of over 1km of track through Musselburgh Lagoons, but local residents across East Lothian may also have noticed the installation of new cycle parking in town centres and at schools, and a new section of pavement linking to a bus stop at Prestongrange Museum. Part of the promenade at Fisherrow was also re-surfaced.

More significantly, the first steps have been taken in the following major projects below with further information is available via the links:

These activities sit alongside ongoing work to develop a network of cycle routes through Musselburgh Active Toun, and projects being taken forward by housing developers such as Hargreaves’ plans to build a path connecting Blindwells to Prestonpans railway station.

East Lothian Council has also undertaken some high-level studies of route networks including at Belhaven in Dunbar, and the Prestonpans/Tranent area, and these will be published over the summer.

In 2023, a similar level of central government funding has allowed the council to keep up the momentum, although there is now a growing ‘long-list’ of projects that communities would like to see delivered. It was therefore necessary to create a sifting process and prioritise links to schools and towns where route quality and deliverability were balanced against the number of people who will benefit. As a result, this year, in addition to continuing to develop the projects above, East Lothian Council will also make every effort to move forward with the following:

Options Appraisals / Concept Designs for:

  • Replacement and upgrade of the bridge over the Tyne at Riverside Drive, Haddington
  • Levenhall to Prestonpans – improved cycling / walking link
  • Appin Drive to Schaw Road community link, Prestonpans
  • Elphinstone to Tranent
  • Yosemite Park to Dunbar Grammar School – connection across the railway

Detailed Design for:

  • Active travel facilities along Tynebank Road, Haddington
  • Footway widening along route to school at Delisle Street, Dunbar
  • Path resurfacing at Polworth Park, Prestonpans
  • Wallyford Community Centre to Inchview Road – path extension and improvement
  • Phase 5 of the Active Freeway (Gateside, Haddington to Steadings View, Tranent)
  • Longniddry Railway Path link to new housing
  • North Berwick High Street

Construction of:

  • Path linking Craighall Drive and Monktonhall Place, Musselburgh
  • Meadowmill, Tranent - path improvements, including lighting at underpass
  • West Loan resurfacing at Preston Tower Primary School
  • Crossing point on Macbeth Moir Road, Musselburgh
  • Crossing point on Summerfield Road, Dunbar

Cabinet Spokesperson for Environment, Economic Development and Tourism, Councillor John McMillan, said “East Lothian Council has made commitments to improve health and well-being, by reducing carbon emissions and so improving air quality, by putting the infrastructure in place to enable people to get where they need to go under their own steam, whether that be on foot, by bike, on a scooter, in a wheelchair, or with another mobility aid. Although these high-level ambitions run through our Local Transport Strategy, delivery is challenging as we are often dependent on external partners for support.

“Unfortunately, external funding is rarely confirmed until the year-end which makes forward-planning difficult, and therefore we rely heavily on external consultants for design and delivery as it is not possible to take on new staff under these circumstances. The tendering process to appoint consultants ensures that value-for-money is obtained, but high-value contracts can take months to procure at each stage (concept, design and delivery) which can add significant time to the process. Additionally, we are frequently required to bid for funding through different award cycles, which adds complexity and further delay to delivery.

“Despite these hurdles, the wheels are in motion and local people can look forward to significant improvements to walking and cycling facilities in East Lothian over the next few years.”

To suggest new projects in your area get in touch with your local councillor or Area Partnership representatives.

Published: Wednesday, 5th July 2023