Memorandum submitted by Transport 2000
The South West Region has recently had sustainability
assessment of its Regional Spatial Strategy. Land Use Consultants
(LUC), together with Collingwood Environmental Planning and Levett-Therivel
have been retained by the South West Regional Assembly to independently
assess the emerging RSS in order to meet the statutory requirements
of the SEA Directive and to comply with ODPM guidance.
On the issue of climate change, the consultants
have indicated that the way that the region responds to meet government
carbon dioxide reduction targets remains as a difficult challenge.
The Strategic Sustainability Assessment Report identifies the
issue of airport expansion and the delivery of economic growth
by improving connectivity as particularly important in terms of
resulting in likely negative sustainability impacts for the region.
Certainly Transport 2000 would agree, especially because that
connectivity is to be achieved by road and not rail, and carbon
emissions are bound to increase.
If transport-related carbon emissions are to
be reduced, the South West region needs much greater investment
in rail, rather than road, to achieve connectivity. Certainly
the policies in the RSS are in place for rail, but lack of government
funds for either the expansion of rail freight or passenger rail
have meant that many aspirations for rail have fallen flat. The
Greater Western Franchise final proposals in fact suggest a reduction
in passenger rail services. Meanwhile road building is seen by
many as the only easily deliverable mode of transport.
New development, it is widely agreed, needs
to be planned around sustainable transport. But again, without
investment in all types of public transportnot just the
buswe are hard pressed as a region to achieve the reductions
in carbon emissions that we might aspire to because we will cannot
achieve modal shift, or enable our planners to design innovative
layouts for new housing and employment areas orientated around
public transport. There seems to be little communication between
the DfT and ODPM when it comes to the public transport infrastructure
to support new development and developer funding is insufficient
or difficult to direct to supporting public transport infrastructure;
the easy default is again new roads.
The problem of revenue support to run public
transport services is already leading to service cuts, for example
in the Greater Bristol area and needs intervention. A Passenger
Transport Executive or similar to manage the public transport
network of the Greater Bristol city region is becoming increasingly