COUNCIL bosses are hoping to get more people on their bikes after launching a new cycling plan.

Braintree Council has published the first draft of a plan which it hopes will lead to a significant increase in cycling.

It comes after eight weeks of public engagement in which residents and businesses were asked to give their views on the strategy.

The council says 74 per cent of those asked in a questionnaire agreed the development of a cycling strategy should be a priority.

A further 61 per cent thought creating a cycle network to encourage more cycling should be the most important priority.

Now the council wants to double the number of cycling trips taken over the next nine years in a bid to reduce emissions, congestion and tackle the issues associated with climate change.

The top three actions identified in the plan were to create a cycle network plan which connects rural and urban areas, working with developers to secure the funding and to promote cycling and cycling facilities to ensure that cycling is seen as safe and normal.

Councillors will be asked to review and approve the strategy and implementation plan at a full council meeting on Monday.

Communities boss Frankie Ricci said: “We know from reading the responses to the questionnaire that people want a cycle network which connects urban and rural areas and improvement to cycling facilities to make cycling safer.

“The benefits speak for themselves. Cycling is great for health and accessibility and when replacing journeys by car it reduces congestion and emissions.

“It can also lead to economic benefits for businesses and tourism.”