Memorandum by The Landscape Institute
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
I would be grateful if you would place the following
comments, observations and proposals on the Integrated Transport
White Paper from the Landscape Institute before the committee.
The Landscape Institute is the professional
body for all aspects of landscape architecture, incorporating
landscape design, management, education science, planning and
research. It was founded in 1929 and granted Royal Charter in
1997. The Landscape Institute welcomes the Government's awareness
of the extensive and wide ranging issue associated with integrated
transport. In particular, the recognition of the differences between
urban and rural needs and the differing practicalities and economics
of public transport in urban and rural situations are welcomed.
In their work the Institute's members are involved
in sustaining and enhancing the quality of life. The institute
is therefore, concerned that an integrated transport strategy,
and subsequent policies and controls, should reduce the environmental
impacts of transportation, including such topics as air, water,
noise pollution, disturbance to human communities, and the environment
impacts of managing the various modes and systems of transportation.
Rather than consider all aspects of the White
Paper I will focus on areas, which are of special concern to the
profession or where the profession can make a realistic contribution.
A fundamental issue of concern to the profession
is that any new, or renovated, transportation facilities or routes
should be fully in sympathy with their local environments. That
means a focus on integration with the landscape, from the concept
initiation and type of project, is crucial. It also involves a
full landscape description and appraisal as a precursor to a comprehensive
environmental impact assessment. We are also aware that incremental
change can, ultimately be quite substantial and dramatic. The
Profession would, therefore recommend that "improvements"
to existing systems (such as straightening or widening roads)
should be subject to an environmental impact assessment so that
change can be anticipated and any amelioration can be incorporated
from the start.
Whilst the efficiency of the charging systems
discussed in the White Paper is a matter for debate, the profession
does have a body of experience related to pedestrians and traffic
calming schemes, particularly in relation to designs and materials
that reflect and integrate with, the local environments of towns
and villages. The Institute proposes that the disruption caused
by the creation of new routes be minimised through focusing on
more effective use of existing facilities and systems. For example,
rather than building (or widening) roads for increased freight
transport such freight should be transferred to rail or sea systems.
The integration of personal and public transport
appears to be one of the weaker aspects of the White Paper. In
addition to issues of reliability, frequency, directness and affordability,
public transport needs to be accessible. Generally speaking that
accessibility only occurs in the major conurbations. For a significant
proportion of the populations in towns, villages and the countryside,
it is necessary to use personal transport (usually cars) to reach
bus, rail, and air routes. To encourage greater use of such public
transport will, therefore involve considerable increased provision
of affordable car parking facilities at bus and rail stations
and airports. Such necessary facilities need sensitive detailed
location, design, and management.
The profession would be happy to contribute
its experience to helping resolve these matters.
There are clearly close links and common issues
between this White Paper and the Opportunities for Change debate
being conducted in the drive for Sustainable Development. There
are many landscape policy matters and items of good landscape
practice in the whole sphere of Sustainable Development and Integrated
Transport. The Landscape Institute therefore repeats its recommendation,
and its offer of assistance, made in its response to Opportunities
for Change, that the Government should promote a suite of Landscape
Policy Guidance notes. Such advice could cover rural and urban
situations, historic and contemporary landscapes, integration
and amelioration, design and management, landscape characters
and scale, and regional and local matters.
In May 1998 the Institute Technical Committee
prepared an Institute position paper on roads and transport and
this is attached.
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute
to the Committee's examination of the issues raised by the Integrated
Transport White Paper. Please do not hesitate to contact myself
or the Director General if anything is unclear or the Committee
requires further detail or elaboration.
Richard F Burden
1 October 1998