Memorandum by the Land Use and Transport
Interaction Working Group (IT 147)
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
The group is formed of leading transport experts
and practitioners and was originally convened at the request of
Graham Allen MP in May 1996.
The conclusions of the group's work were submitted
to DETR during its consultation period as part of the incoming
Labour Government's Transport Policy Review. Further work and
meetings with DETR officials and advisors were held during the
preparation of the White Paper. In April 1998 we prepared a final
paper "Key Messages for the Transport White Paper" which
provides the rationale underpinning this present response.
Our broad response is one of strong support
for the general direction of change proposed in the White Paper
and very largely for the many individual initiatives contained
within it. There are inevitably reservations surrounding the detail
that has yet to be published and the uncertainty over the timescale
In this memorandum we focus on matters where
we sense the Government has yet to appreciate the full implications
of its aspirations. We would hope that attention could be given
to these points as the daughter documents of the White Paper are
worked on and legislative proposals formulated.
As in our earlier work we concentrate on the
mechanisms proposed for land use and transport planning and the
integration between them. We reiterate the point that devising
appropriate mechanisms does not guarantee that an integrated approach
will be adopted in any area, but that without them integration
will certainly be harder to achieve. In the context of the Government's
proposals for more open government it is also important that the
intended mechanisms for integration are clear, and allow appropriate
opportunities for public involvement in the choices that are available.
We offer specific comments on two issues:
(i) arrangements for integrated land use/transport
planning at regional and sub-regional levels;
(ii) the proposed Local Transport Plans and
their relationship to the statutory development planning system
The White Paper contains many references to
the proposed new form of Regional Planning Guidance incorporating
a regional transport strategy (4.51; 4.58; 4.158). We are very
much in favour of this strengthening of planning at the regional
level and the bringing together of the land use and transport
The Government's desire to see the policies
and proposals of the Highways Agency and the Strategic Rail Authority
being supportive of broader regional planing objectives (including
support for Regional Development Agency) is not in doubt. However
the "hope" that consistency will be achieved does not
sufficiently address the difficulties which are likely to arise
on account of the national remit within which these agencies
A good contemporary illustration of this is
the setting of traffic or passenger targets. Local highway authorities
are currently working under the 1997 Act obligations to determine
the road traffic reduction targets appropriate to their own roads.
Meanwhile the Highways Agency is not as yet working to any such
targets and has only the DETR's National Road Traffic Forecasts
as a basis for its work. The SRA is expected to be issued with
its own set of targets (3.33).
Whether these, taken together, will constitute
a credible framework for planning within a region (given the interaction
between all three elements) is hard to envisage. In the case of
rail this is especially significant in the South-East where a
large proportion of the network (and almost all of it south of
the Thames) fulfils a regional rather than a national function.
A further difficulty is the SRA's exclusive
concern with the rail component of the nation's public transport
system. The White Paper properly acknowledges the importance of
interchange between the rail network and other modes (3.58; 3.68).
But there is no public agency with responsibility for supporting
and developing regionally significant bus and coach services.
Many places where strategic improvements in public transport are
needed, such as access to airports or orbital journeys around
conurbations, are not ones where rail facilities are available.
It is not reasonable to expect individual local authorities to
take on this role, but such improvements are likely to be sought
as key components of regional strategies.
Identifying an appropriate mix between management
of the strategic highway network and support and investment in
coach and rail servicesand relating all of these to development
policies in a regionis the core requirement of a regional
transport strategy. The mix is likely to vary from area to area
and from one corridor to another. But the mechanisms by which
any desired mix might be secured are far from clear. There
is a world of difference between developing separate programmes
for the various transport modes and seeking (nominal) consistency
between them and a regional strategy as compared with developing
a multi-modal programme which is directly aimed at fulfilling
The programme of multi-modal studies proposed
by DETR in key motorway and trunk road corridors provides an early
focus for this issue. To what extent will it be practicable to
shift trunk road monies into strategic rail investments or local
traffic management (or vice versa) in order to arrive at the most
cost-effective solution in a particular corridor? The future possibility
of motorway tolling (4.100) and the use of its revenues for alternative
transport improvements adds a further dimension to this important
We are very much in favour of the proposed change
from TPPs to more comprehensive local transport plans, geared
to a longer time scale and with Central Government approval to
funding blocks. Where we have concerns is over the relationship
of the new LTP system to the statutory development plan systemespecially
if LTPs themselves become statutory (4.76).
As with regional planning guidance there is
no doubt that the Government aims to achieve integration
between land use and transport planning at the local level (4.74;
4.169). But simply seeking "consistency" between local
transport plans and development plans (4.77) does not do justice
to the dynamic relationship which exists between transport and
land use issues in any locality. This relationship is set to become
more profound (and more politically contentious) as demand management
becomes more prominent, as measures such as congestion charging
and workplace parking levies are proposed, and as the local options
for applying these measures and using their revenues come to be
The White Paper implies that consistency can
be secured by both sets of plans being prepared within the context
of a common regional strategy. Certainly the role of the strategy
in establishing key principles surrounding, for example, development
location, user charging and parking standards is an important
pre-requisite. But there are many important decisions relating
to site specific developments which are only addressed at the
level of district plans (or UDP Part II).
Is it possible to consider options for strategic
housing or employment development in different towns without at
the same time being able to consider the feasibility of catering
for their generated traffic or providing attractive public transport
alternatives? Is it realistic to discuss area boundaries for congestion
charges or parking levies without considering the pressure they
might generate for land use developments just outside these areas?
If these issues are to arise in connection with both LTPs and
development plans which one is to take precedence, and will interested
members of the public be able to recognise the distinction?
These questions demonstrate that as far as policy
debates on these matters are concerned they need to take place
within a single local forum. Since the development plan process
is an established statutory requirement that forum has to be the
development plan. However this principle raises a number of practical
Local Transport Plans are to be phased in beginning
1999-2000, but the relevant district plans (circa 1996-98) owe
their origins to regional guidance and structure plans developed
well before the current policy era. LTPs will therefore be prepared
ahead of District Plan revisions andbeing conducted in
a narrower contextwill tend to pre-empt debate that should
properly take place within the local plan. A particular incentive
to do this will occur in two-tier shire county areas where the
highway authority responsible for LTPs will be the upper (county)
tier, whilst the planning authority for district plans is the
lower (district) tier.
Fortunately the significance of this mismatch
is diminished in the early years of LTPs before the full five-year
horizon is introduced and before the possibilities of user charging
and associated investment options come into play. The potential
for linking LTPs to the district plan or UDP cycle in due course
nevertheless deserves to be addressed. Since development plans
are not reviewed on a rigid cycle it may well be that in future
the policy element of LTPs should form part of the district plan/UDP
cycle, with some corresponding flexibility being applied to the
"five-year" horizon set for the programming and funding
of local transport expenditures.
We hope you find these points useful. Further
papers are attached
that provide the background and context to the Land Use and Transport
Interaction Working Group.
Key Messages for the White Paper,
16 April 1998, (Paper B).
Achieving Integrated Planning at
Regional and Local Levels, 2 March 1998 (Paper C).
Integrating Transport and Land Use
Planning, 26 September 1997 (Paper D).
Delivering an Integrated Land Use/Transport
Strategy, 26 September 1997 (Paper E).
Paper E briefly states the concepts underlying
the group's work and the changes that will be required to achieve
integration of transport and land use. Paper D outlines in greater
detail how this might be achieved. Paper B, written prior to the
White Paper's publication, recognises that the White Paper outlines
an agenda for future action and that there are still areas where
thinking and policy will evolve further, both in relation to the
ideas contained within the White Paper itself and in the parallel
reviews modernising planning and local government. Paper C, written
prior to the White Paper, and our memorandum, look beyond the
White Paper discussing some of the broader planning and delivery
Councillor Nicky Gavron
18 September 1998
2 Not printed. Back