Local Transport Plan LTP3

by steve on December 6, 2011

Transition Evesham Vale (TEV) welcomes an opportunity to comment on the county’s draft local transport plan covering the period 2011 to 2026.

TEV is one of a growing number of national and international towns and communities, which are increasingly concerned about the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change. Our aim is to build resilient communities which are well prepared to meet these challenges and threats to livelihoods, and to improve our well-being. Our objective is to significantly reduce our dependency on non-renewable hydrocarbon fuel sources and hence limit the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and methane. Wychavon has the highest per capita carbon footprint in Worcestershire and hence we believe that low carbon transport solutions require a particular focus and set of actions within the draft plan. Members of TEV have calculated their carbon footprint and transport is by far the most significant component for most people – in some cases over 40% of the total. However, we believe that the priorities set out in the plan (both in timescales and the spatial dimension) do not adequately deal with the carbon dependency of our current transport systems. Indeed the weighting given to carbon reduction as an objective (13%) is too limited, when compared to the higher weighting of 20% given to costs and 19% for economic growth . There is growing evidence that economic growth coupled with increased consumption is the major cause of climate change . The Vale of Evesham has some significant transport issues which the plan broadly covers from a strategic perspective.

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However, we are concerned that more detailed considerations may be given less priority in the operational plans which will be based on LTP3. Hence while we commend the plan in its attempts to deal with some of the challenges within an integrated economic, environmental and quality of life framework, we are concerned that some of the specific issues in The Vale will be neglected within the more detailed delivery plans which will follow this consultation. We wish to draw your attention to a number of specific issues and serious concerns about transport in Wychavon which we hope will be reflected in the final version of the plan. 1. There are a growing number of new housing developments on the fringes of Evesham. We have not been informed of any integrated transport infrastructure plans which will mitigate

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the inevitable increased congestion this will cause, as well as the increased carbon footprint of both the construction traffic and the residential traffic once developments are completed. This should be a key requirement for all current and future housing developments. 2. There is poor bus timetable information currently available in The Vale. This lack of information clearly limits public transport choices in this area. For example, there is currently no county-wide bus/rail map analogous to those provided by all of our neighbouring counties; the Evesham Public Transport Guide (2010) has had very limited publicity. In

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addition the current walking and cycling map for Evesham contains inaccurate information and the general public is largely unaware of this source of information. Again, indicating limited publicity. We would wish the detailed plans to address these limitations as a priority. Evesham by-pass currently restricts safe access to and from the town to communities to the east via the major footpath known as the Shakespeare’s Avon Way. The

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other footpath cut off by the by-pass route further north (nearer the Twyford roundabout) is equally forbidding and dangerous. 3. The lack of adequate provision of dedicated cycling routes in the Vale is a serious omission to any form of integrated transport policy and strategy. Sustrans will shortly announce the opening of a new section of their national cycle route from Tewkesbury to Evesham. But it seems as though this will be a dead-end since there is no connection for cyclists we are aware of through the town and beyond! There seems to be no priority given in the plan to develop a cycle network in the area. 4. The Vale of Evesham has a long and important association with horticultural and agricultural production systems. These along with some of the former military bases and airfields in the area have been redeveloped for industrial, storage and distribution use on a significant scale. This has led to a significant growth in HGVs passing through the villages and outskirts of Evesham. Further developments such as the massive expansion of Kanes Foods Ltd in Middle Littleton will inevitably exacerbate the situation. Similar expansion of distribution centres in Blackminster and Offenham are also making a significant and adverse impact on road safety especially for those who cycle and walk (many pavements in the villages are extremely narrow). The LTP3 makes no reference to this growing issue which limits some of the strategic objectives set out in it for integrated and low carbon alternatives. 5. Many residents in The Vale are expressing real concerns about the increasing incidents of speeding in villages and residential areas, putting their safety at risk. We believe the LTP3 should take a much more radical approach to this issue and rather than ‘consider’ the imposition of 20mph limits subject to caveats set out on page 22; it should consult local communities and identify through an appropriate stakeholder consultation process a number of target streets and impose lower speed limits as a priority . 6. We believe that the ‘smarter choices policy’ is potentially an important intervention in promoting alternative transport options, but it needs more focus on particular communities and businesses to maximise its impact. We think the plan insufficiently focuses

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on the pedestrian and their safety; for example increasing the number of pedestrian crossings in Evesham and surrounding areas and providing pedestrian refuges at all traffic signals. 7. Reduction in car and lorry use could be achieved through: • Car Sharing; • Car Clubs; • Lorries sharing loads; • Use of electric and smaller engine cars by local authorities; • Greater use of public transport. The plan should explore ways of promoting and implementing all of these low carbon alternatives 8. LTP3 rightly asserts that ‘individual members of the public sometimes feel that the delivery of local transport policy contradicts their aspirations for transport in the County’. We think the remedy set out on page 31/32 based on a ‘robust evidence base’ should be strengthened by setting up local transport consultative panels for each sub-regional package it intends to deliver. These panels should be made up of both elected members of parish and district councils and members of the public with clear and unambiguous terms of reference grounded in delivering integrated transport solutions. Membership of the panels should include key representatives from national transport agencies such as Sustrans. Indeed we would strongly encourage the County to review critically its approach to partnership working so that all key stakeholders with an interest in contributing to a low carbon future can make an effective contribution to the delivery of LTP3. 16 December 2010

Acknowledgements: A special thank you to Clive Bostle, Jill Haycock and Frances Hogwood for detailed input in the ANNEX which follows.

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