Memorandum submitted by Salisbury Transport
Salisbury Transport 2000 (ST2000) is a local
group affiliated to Transport 2000, the national environmental
transport campaign. ST2000 was established in 1998 and campaigns
for integrated and sustainable transport and a reduction in car
The group has been involved in campaigns against
the controversial road proposals (the Wylye Valley Relief Road
and the Brunel Link/Harnham Road) which emerged from the Salisbury
Transport Study in 2000. The former scheme was rejected for central
government funding in 2004, and our comments below focus on the
climate change impacts of the Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road
proposals and a general failure to consider climate change impacts
in local transport policy.
The Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road scheme was
provisionally accepted for government funding of up to £13
million in 2000. Two separate planning applications have subsequently
been submitted, but the scheme has always been opposed by the
statutory bodies and is currently a low priority on the list of
schemes submitted in the advice from the SW region to central
government in January 2006.
2. COMMENTS IN
We have specific comments which relate to the
following strategic issue identified for review by the Committee:
"whether the DfT's carbon reduction target is underpinned
by a coherent strategy stretching across the department's entire
range of activities".
The Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road proposals
are predicted to increase CO2 emissions in the opening
year from 4,847 tonnes per year without the scheme to 5,466 tonnes
per year with scheme, an increase of 12.7%. However this is dismissed
in the Environmental Statement with the statement that "the
mass of emissions produced by the proposed route are an extremely
small percentage of the national emissions."
The adverse CO2 impacts of the scheme
have been down-played in earlier reports on the schemefor
example in material submitted with the 2002 planning application
(subsequently withdrawn) it is noted that there is "no significant
change in CO2 emissions" and the assessment is
considered to be neutral.
We note too that greenhouse gas emissions related to the road
construction activity do not seem to be taken into account.
Wiltshire's Local Transport Plan acknowledges,
in the chapter on "Problems and Opportunities" the contribution
of transport to climate change and states that policies to restrain
traffic growth in order to achieve reductions in CO2
levels are "vital".
However there is nothing in this document which refers to the
adverse climate change impacts of the Brunel Link/Harnham Relief
Comments from the statutory bodies on the planning
application for the Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road included the
observation that there was insufficient reference to alternatives,
including "no road" or "do nothing" options.
Development of the road scheme proposals continues regardless
of these concerns. We are disappointed that this bias is characteristic
of Wiltshire County Council's transport "strategy",
which has shown a consistent preference for promoting road schemes
and a failure to develop public transport, walking and cycling
or promote demand management measures.
The Salisbury roads have been encouraged by
the Government Office for the South West (GOSW), as have other
major highways schemes in the county, over many years. There appears
to have been no attempt by GOSW to direct Wiltshire County Council's
transport programme away from its roads bias and towards public
transport and demand management. Our local railways are suffering
service cuts and lack of investment in regionally desired improvements
(such as dualling of the Salisbury Exeter line) yet DfT policy
appears to give local authorities, GOSW and regional assembly
neither the mechanisms nor the funding to correct this decline.
We conclude that we can find no evidence that
the DfT's carbon reduction target has been taken into account
in respect of the proposed Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road in
Salisbury. The attitude that an increase in CO2 emissions
is only a drop in the ocean as far as the national picture is
concerned is unfortunately all to common. Statements in Wiltshire's
provisional Local Transport Plan about the need to ensure a reduction
in CO2 levels are not backed up by measures to achieve
this. The DfT will only be able to claim that they have "a
coherent strategy" when local transport decisions start to
contribute to the DfT targets rather than work against them.
76 Environmental Statement Harnham Relief Road/Brunel
Link, RPS/Mouchel Parkman, March 2005, paras 3.65-66. Back
Harnham Relief Road and Brunel Link Stage 3 Scheme Assessment
Report, Part 2, AST para 6.7. Back
Provisional Wiltshire Local Transport Plan 2006-07 to 2010-11,
para 3.9. Back