Roads and footpaths in busy areas of Hertfordshire will be temporarily changed to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians.

Following the UK Government announcement last Saturday (May 9), where £2billion has been set aside for pop-up bike lanes and wider pavements across the country, Hertfordshire County Council has begun drawing up plans.

The changes include closing off some roads, removing parking, and narrowing roads for extra pedestrian and cycling spaces.

The council are looking to introduce some of these changes at “main shopping areas” within the next ten days in Watford - High Street and St Albans Road; St Albans city centre and Hatfield Road, Borehamwood, Radlett, and Bowers Parade in Harpenden.

Places in Hertford, Ware, Royston, Knebworth, Hitchin, Welwyn, and Bishops Stortford have also been identified.

While the county council are prioritising road spaces for pedestrians and cyclists, they will also consider the need for access to public transport, emergency services, deliveries, and accessibility for the disabled.

Councillor Phil Bibby, cabinet member for Highways and Environment, said: “The safety and security of those who live and work in Hertfordshire is a top priority for us at Hertfordshire County Council.

“We are working closely with our public health partners to ensure we have the right measures in place to allow people to safely go about their business in town centres and enable them to socially distance as they do so.

“This is a rapidly moving project and we aim to be in a position to start rolling out some of the measures within the next 10 days.

“While this project looks at the 16 locations identified, we are aware that there will be a range of other shopping locations where business owners may need to implement social distancing measures within their premises, which could impact on footpaths, and we may need to expand to other locations.”

During the announcement on Saturday, transport secretary Grant Shapps urged local authorities in England to start immediate changes and reallocate road space.

Mr Shapps said a national cycling plan will be published in early June to help double cycling and increase walking by 2025.

The transport secretary explained that since the lockdown was in place, there has already been a seventy per cent rise in the use of bikes.

The legalisation of e-scooter trials will also be fast tracked to next month to provide another form of transport.

This will include new e-scooter rental schemes that is said to be set in some regions as early as June.