An Active Travel Strategy for the Outer Hebrides

We Asked

To further develop the Active travel Strategy framework document all 28 community councils and 16 Land trusts/Estates across the Outer Hebrides were contacted with a request to provide answers to the three questions shown below in regards to active travel within their community.

In addition, an offer to meet with groups was given to discuss active travel across the Outer Hebrides, but more importantly within their locality.

You Said

Feedback from those originally contacted was limited. A total of 11 replies were received, four from Community Councils and seven from Land Trusts.

It was encouraging to hear in these replies how groups are proactively working on various active travel and tourism/leisure related infrastructure and initiative projects in their locality and some of the challenges they face.

Only one community council accepted the offer to meet with them to discuss their proposals, aspirations and active projects.

We Did

Of the Key Themes: We Did

The details of the consultation have been collated together and shared with colleagues, as required, where they impact other documents such as the Core Path Plan.

As the project developed, new contacts were made with other community groups which allowed promotion and support of active travel initiatives and infrastructure projects throughout the communities of Outer Hebrides to be offered.

This piece of work has allowed the foundations to be laid in how Comhairle nan Eilean Siar support the whole Outer Hebrides and not just select, individual proactive groups.

All pertinent data has been reviewed and relevant details added to the framework document. This will allow a better understanding of the needs, challenges and desires of the communities across the Outer Hebrides, giving a clearer overall picture of the island’s active travel needs.

In addition, this allowed the team to act as an Active Travel Coordinator for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar across the whole authority area and within the wider Highlands and Islands locality. Working with internal and external groups in this way ensures that active travel is kept as a priority and promoted in a positive and proactive approach.

Of the Key Themes: We Did Not Do Reason

The responses to the consultation were limited and it is felt that not all communities have been able to feed into the framework document.

Unfortunately, the timing of the project meant that the current Community Council members were due to stand down after having served their term and a new committee elected.

As a result, the framework document is incomplete as many communities have not contributed to the document.

It is hoped that further consultation is carried out to update and capture the communities needs and requirements. This would then be fed into the Framework document, which in turn, will help create an Active travel strategy for the Outer Hebrides.

Equalities Monitoring

Please complete our Equalities Monitoring Form:

Equalities Monitoring Form

This is used by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to provide essential statistical information about who participates in our consultations.

The data is managed confidentially, is not personally attributable, and is processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.


Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), with support from the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme, worked together with the regional transport partnership, HITRANS and were assisted by Ove Arup & Partners to prepare an Active Travel Strategy Framework document.

The next stage of this project is to carry out community consultations with all Outer Hebrides Community Councils, using this document as a basis of discussion to ensure that the final strategy is robust and fully informed of each area’s needs, desires and aspirations regards Active Travel.

Why We Are Consulting

Active Travel can help improve where you live in your community, and places residents and tourists go such as centres of employment, shopping and leisure, including beaches, museums and the countryside. If you are an owner or operator of a business, projects may help you to promote walking and cycling to visitors and staff.

The intended outcome of this project is to further develop and refine the framework consultation document’s aim, objectives and outcomes by each community’s needs, desires and aspirations regards Active Travel.

Day to day maintenance of streets will still be dealt with outside of this strategy, though actions within this strategy may help inform priorities.

What Happens Next

Each Community Council will contacted to request an opportunity to meet with the committee to share the aims and objectives of the plan and ascertain their priorities in relation to the following questions:

  • Other than the weather, what prevents people in your area from walking or cycling for short,  everyday journeys?
  • As a community group are you currently working on, or aware of, any local schemes to improve footpaths, cycleway, walking or cycling incentives, seating , shelters etc?
  • In regards to active travel and as a community, do you have a vision for what you would like to see happen in your locality?

 Exact times and locations of these meetings will be arranged with each community council.