A CHARTER has been launched aimed at making Colchester more cycle-friendly.

It has already been signed by 35 organisations, including schools representing 35,000 students, and 220 individuals.

Founders the Colchester Cycling Campaign (CCC) say its aim is to demonstrate to Colchester and Essex’s council leaders there is wide support for cycling and a growing consensus for investment in better cycling infrastructure.

The official launch, including councillors and cyclists, took place on Sunday.

Stuart Johnson, a CCC member, said: "Colchester has several challenges in common with growing towns across Britain.

“We are clogged up with congestion. Although some trips can only sensibly be made by a motor vehicle, too many people choose to make short journeys by private car and then complain about the traffic.

“Colchester is a polluted town and air pollution here worsened in 2018. EU safe limits were exceeded in a number of locations, with implications for the health of those who live and work here, especially children.

"We also have a crisis of inactive and sedentary lifestyles. Children today are one-fifth less fit than their peers just 16 years ago. "

“On top of this, the NHS is spending a tenth of its budget on type 2 diabetes treatment."

Mr Johnson said the "magic pill" was cycling, as active travel can reduce the chance of developing many diseases, physical and mental.

He added: “Cycling to work or school each day can help to meet the government’s exercise guidelines, reduce pollution, help address climate change and help free road space for journeys that have to be done by motor vehicle.”

Individuals or organisations wanting to sign the charter should go to www.colchestercyclingcharter.org.uk.