AQW 25966/11-15

Mr Daithí McKay
Sinn Féin
North Antrim

Tabled Date: 19/09/2013
Answered On Date: 07/10/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister for Regional Development whether his Department plans to adopt derelict railway line routes to create cycling and pedestrian green ways.

The scope for potential walking and cycling routes along abandoned railway lines and the mechanisms to develop them are matters which can be considered by the cross-departmental Active Travel Forum which is chaired by my officials and meets regularly to monitor the Active Travel Strategy. Most abandoned lines have been sold off into private ownership. Some have been transferred to other public bodies. The creation of cycling and pedestrian paths, therefore, would require negotiation of public rights of way.
My Department has co-operated previously with other partners to deliver walking and cycling routes along the former Belfast to Comber railway line and on the development of the Waterside Greenway Project, providing combined pedestrian and cycle facilities in Londonderry.
I would also advise the Member that I have recently instructed my officials to give increased and focused priority to the needs of cyclists, to encourage greater participation in this healthy and sustainable form of transport. To that end, I am establishing a new cycling unit to ensure cycling issues and initiatives are progressed in a more coherent and coordinated manner across my Department, in partnership with local government, voluntary bodies, public transport operators and the health and education sectors.