RESIDENTS living near Bridgwater could be given ‘reward points’ for cycling and walking as part of a scheme to ease congestion in the town.

The plan is part of the second phase of a larger multi-million pound scheme to try and improve traffic and support healthier lifestyles.

One of the initiatives is for a new ‘BetterPoints’ programme, a smartphone app offering reward points for walking and cycling.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “Users get more ‘BetterPoints’ the more they do and can spend them on little luxuries like coffee and clothes, or donate them to charity.”

In the initial stages this will be focused on people living in North Petherton, Stockmoor and Wilstock but it is hoped to be extended later.

Elsewhere businesses, schools and communities are being encouraged to sign up to The Bridgwater Way initiative, which is being run by Somerset County Council and funded by EDF Energy.

The Bridgwater Way will now offer free tailored travel support for businesses including road traffic updates, exclusive discounts, advice on how to roll out car share programmes and support incentives for walking, cycling and using public transport.

Schools are being offered similar tailor-made support to encourage walking, scooting and cycling.

The Bridgwater Way has already seen investment in new cycling and walking routes, such as the cycle route installed along the A39 between Cannington and Bridgwater, and there are improvements planned for Puriton too.

Councillor John Woodman, cabinet member for highways, said: “We want people to get involved, because it’s their choices that will make the difference. 

“There is massive investment happening in and around Bridgwater, and this comes with an increase in traffic which I know has not escaped people’s attention. 

“The Bridgwater Way is looking at the best ways to tackle this, from improving infrastructure to providing travel advice, to encouraging a more sustainable, healthier lifestyle for people.

He added: “We can all play our part in reducing congestion – and at the same time lead healthier lives.”

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