Life in Lancashire Wave 13

New Search

Purpose The main questions areas looked at current leisure use of the Lancashire countryside, information sources of and awareness of Lancashire countryside, preparations for the Minerals and Waste Development Framework (MWDF) and public involvement in it, priorities for highway maintenance, and satisfaction with and priorities for the winter maintenance service.
Subject Communications
Countryside services
Road and pavement maintenance and repairs
Geographic area All of Lancashire
Method Questionnaire - postal
Consultation with Life in Lancashire panel
Date 29/03/2005 - 08/04/2005
Undertaken by Corporate Research and Intelligence Team, Policy Unit


Number in sample 2094
Number of responses 1656
Response rate 79%
Key findings Nine in ten panel members consider Lancashire's countryside to be important to them for leisure. Walking and rambling is the top reason for visiting Lancashire's countryside, followed by the countryside scenery and visiting attractions. Over half of the panel use the countryside of Lancashire at least once a week. Parkland and picnic sites, canal-side paths and fields and meadows are the most used types of countryside. Not having enough time is the most common barrier to use.

Patching is considered the most important highway maintenance service followed by footway maintenance. One in six respondents is very satisfied with the winter service, with two thirds satisfied overall. Routes for large population centres, more roads generally, commuter routes and important footways all are mentioned by over a third of respondents as among the most important to treat.
Outcomes Countryside services

The research confirmed what we have found from other research that not everyone in Lancashire makes use of the countryside. We need to take a fresh approach to the way we provide information and promote the countryside.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 requires each highway authority to produce a Rights of Way Improvement Plan. In Lancashire the County Council has drafted a plan, in partnership with Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, that will come into force in July 2005. In the plan our proposals for change are:

* to produce a strategy saying how we will deliver information about our footpath network and facilities to all of Lancashire's residents, including ethnic minorities and those with disabilities;
* to develop information and promotional material that shows the benefits of using the countryside to the local community, particularly its health benefits; and
* where it's possible we will create or improve walking routes where there aren't many paths and there is a lot of demand for community-to-countryside links.

In a nutshell, we will improve and develop trails by using the public rights of way network close to major centres of population and encourage residents from all walks of life to use them, be it through walking, cycling, horse riding or wheelchair access.

Winter highway maintenance

The areas where respondents were more likely to be dissatisfied with are already being investigated by the service.

We continually check that the routes we treat are the most appropriate ones. Your comments are helping us to prioritise which routes and roads we should treat. We treat principal 'A' and 'B' roads and Lancashire's motorways. We already deal with most of the roads and routes you felt were important for us to treat. But, respondents told us we should treat more roads in general. This is a view we share, but the money available to us means that we have to deal with important roads and routes first. But to improve efficiency we've recently invested in larger gritting vehicles.

Respondents said that we should treat important footways. We're developing this area, which is a separate area to our work on roads.

Minerals and waste development framework

The results about how we should communicate information on minerals and waste planning and the best ways to get involved are helping us greatly in making sure we involve the public in the best way.

The joint authorities (Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Blackpool Council) are responsible for minerals and waste planning in Lancashire. They will be sending documents by post to consultees. Also has been developed as a dedicated website. Visitors to the site are able to register on the consultees database, view and download documents online, see when MWDF events are happening and air their views.

The joint authorities will make greater use of local libraries, council offices and town halls to make information about the MWDF available to the public.

We will ensure that all consultation documents are produced with a clearly structured questionnaire. To make it easier for them to be returned all questionnaires will have a freepost address printed on them.

We will also be holding events, such as exhibitions and open days, at different times of the day so that more people are able to come and give us their views.

Project document(s)


Marked up questionnaire(s)

Contact information

For more information about this research contact:

Melissa Sherliker
01772 535019

Related information

Life in Lancashire members' website: