Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by The Landscape Institute and Mouchel Consulting Limited (TYP 12)


  The 10 Year Plan represents a recognition of the problems associated with transport in the UK, as illustrated clearly within the recent CfIT report, and involves an ambitious programme to alleviate those problems.

  Many of the most serious problems, and particularly those on the strategic road network, are being investigated within the current programme of Multi-Modal Studies. The interim nature of the 10 Year Plan in relation to that programme is explained in para 5.10 "If the studies recommend a pattern of spending that is different from our assumptions, we will shift resources accordingly".

  We would therefore suggest that the Committee take account of the implied evolution of the details of the Plan during their deliberations, and that the Committee might consider, in particular, the way in which this evolution should be managed, as an integral part of the delivery process.

  Mouchel's perspective, from involvement in a number of Multi-Modal Studies, is that the options being considered, if summed across all studies, could lead to expenditure on the strategic road network considerably in excess of the £21 billion identified in the Plan, with potentially damaging implications for the landscape and the environment. As an extension of this point, we are concerned that the studies appear to be being undertaken relatively independently, and we would argue that there is a need for the outputs from all the studies to be integrated at regional and national levels. We suggest a way in which this might be done in 2. below.

  In particular, it is extremely difficult for individual studies to take into account the effects of demand management and other intervention strategies in other areas. As an example, if the ORBIT study were to conclude that a substantial increase in the capacity of the M25 and associated roads could not be justified in relation to the five Key DTLR objectives identified in the Transport White Paper and NATA, then this could have implications for traffic demand over a significant proportion of the total English transport network. This could equally well apply if the ORBIT study, and/or other major studies, were to conclude that major road-widening programmes should be taken forward.


  So far as assumptions are concerned, it is now recognised that travel demand is significantly influenced by the level of supply, as well as fiscal measures such as congestion charging. The Multi-Modal Study programme has involved a considerable investment in the development of mathematical models to assess these effects, albeit at a local level. These models, and associated appraisals, will constitute a unique national database which could be used, in our view, both to review the relationships on which the 10 Year Plan forecasts were based, and to assess the overall implications of alternative programmes of measures, as we suggested in 1. above.


  Implementation of the 10 Year Plan clearly represents a real challenge, both for individual agencies and organisations and for UK as a whole. Possibly the most important step forward initiated by the Transport White Paper was recognition of the importance of integration, both between transport modes and between transport, land-use, economic and environmental planning. It is clear that the Multi-Modal Studies are coming forward with integrated packages of measures which, in combination, will have considerably greater value than the simple sum of their component parts. It is also clear that the timing of their implementation will often be critical for their public acceptability. This raises very real difficulties because, although integrated planning is now accepted as standard practice, institutional arrangements do not exist to ensure integrated delivery of the individual implementation programmes for which the Highways Agency, local authorities, the rail industry, etc are responsible. In our view, this might be an appropriate role for emerging regional institutions, and would be a logical extension of the current RPG process.

  The recently published Planning White Paper should assist in ensuring that key individual elements of Regional Transport Strategies do not become seriously delayed following enactment of the appropriate legislation. However, attention will need to be given to programme integration in the intervening period.


  So far as targets are concerned, their use can lead to serious distortions, as has been shown to be the case in relation to the NHS. In our view, the setting of targets can be a valuable input to the planning process, through quantification of otherwise more generalised objectives. The problem comes when they then become operational targets, against which day-to-day performance is measured. We do understand, however, that this distinction is not simple and tends in the opposite direction to current emphasis on outcomes, rather than on outputs and processes.

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