BARNSLEY Council's ruling cabinet has responded to suggestions on how it can improve Barnsley's transport infrastructure and ensure development land is used to 'best effect'.

The recommendations were made by the economy and skills scrutiny commission which looked at whether Barnsley has the right transport infrastructure and development sites needed to attract major new employers to the borough.

The council's cabinet has released a report outlining its responses to the commission's investigation.

With regards to concerns raised about greenbelt land being used for development, the cabinet said all potential employment sites are assessed for suitability prior to being included.

And it agreed that existing 'brownfield' sites be fully exploited in order to minimise the impact of future development on greenbelt.

The commission said traffic levels in Barnsley are increasing and are expected to continue to rise so locals should be encouraged to use 'sustainable travel options' such as walking, cycling and public transport where possible.

The cabinet report states budgets in Barnsley have been allocated to key bus route improvements, walking and cycling, and travel planning.

Recent grants had provided investment in bus route improvements and walking and cycling in the Dearne, provided a new bus accessing ASOS at Grimethorpe, and doubled the frequency of the X19 bus between Barnsley and Doncaster.

Further walking and cycling routes are planned for Barnsley town centre and in Hoyland/Elsecar, and the final phase of the Elsecar Park and Ride at Elsecar railway station is due to start.

New walking and cycling routes at Carlton Community College and Shafton ALC have been installed, and similar improvements were made at Horizon Community College and Netherwood at Wombwell.

It said studies carried out at Carlton Community College show cycling increased from one per cent to nine per cent in the first year of the routes being in place.