B&NES Consultation – The Journey to Net Zero

High Littleton Parish Council 

B&NES Consultation – The Journey to Net Zero 

The below response agreed by the Parish Council 8 February 2022 

  1. Introduction 
  1. B&NES launched their consultation on 10 January with a closing date of 7th January.  After representation they have agreed that Parish Councils may respond until 21 February.  Accordingly, the Parish Council is able to formulate a response at their February meeting, 
  1. Members will wish to note that B&NES state in their preference: 
  1. We have developed this policy document in line with the evidence we gathered in the Transport Delivery Action Plan for Bath, and follows on from the Getting Around Bath Transport Strategy. As a consequence, whilst the Journey to Net Zero is primarily focused on transport within Bath, work is currently underway at a regional level, to develop a detailed transport de-carbonisation plan that covers all of the West of England region, including North East Somerset. This will focus on how the district outside of Bath can respond to the Climate Emergency, with a particular focus on rural transport. 
  1. Members may feel that the Principal Council is abdicating its responsibility for the rural communities that form part of their responsibility.  It is very hard to see how we can support their plans without an understanding of how the difficulties of rural public transport will be resolved.  Without such information it is very hard to support proposals that are likely to be detrimental to our constituents.  It is no accident that the number of cars per a household in High Littleton are more than 3 times the national average. 
  1. Currently High Littleton’s public transport options mean: 
  1. it takes two hours to travel to and from a 20 min appointment at Elm Hayes Surgery; 
  1. there is no scheduled bus service which enables 16+ students to attend Norton Hill Sixth Form College; and 
  1. a journey into Bath takes around 1:45 as opposed to 25 minutes by car. Etc.  
  1. Financial Costs 
  1. The proposals have no financial costings and no source of funding 
  1. Economic Impact Assessment 
  1. There is no economic impact assessment 
  1. Feasibility Studies 
  1. There are no references to feasibility studies and therefore it is very difficult to assess the feasibility of the proposals outlined in the Principal Council’s Plans. 
  1. Mass Transit for Bath 
  1. It is suggested that in addition to a mass transit system for West of England there could be a mass transit system within Bath.  There is no indication as to the routing of such a system or the passenger numbers such a system may expect. 
  1. Members feel that this could become a “vanity project” which distracts from more deliverable solutions to the challenge of Climate Change.  There is insignificant detail to assess the viability of such a system.  Bath is a very small City. 
  1. Travel by Bike and on Foot 
  1. Any plan to make travel by Bike or on foot easier and safer has to be supported, although it needs to be recognised that this is not an option for everyone even with the advent of electric bikes and scooters. 
  1. Improvements to Pedestrian Experience 
  1. These proposals should apply throughout Bath & North East Somerset and not just to the City of Bath 
  1. Improvements to disabled access 
  1. There is a danger that the focus of disabled access is limited to those who hold a “blue badge”.  However, there are many disabled people who do not qualify for a blue badge who suffer difficulties of mobility.  Easy access should be incorporated into every scheme regardless. 
  1. Traffic Cells 
  1. It is hard to assess how the traffic cell concept would work in Bath as there is no detail.  Keeping through traffic out of Bath is laudable but the devil is in the detail.  The example quoted by the Bath team is Ghent.  However it is hard to see the comparison.  Ghent is on the E40 and E70 autoroutes; it has both an outer and inner ring road system.  Bath has none of those advantages and has struggled with through traffic for many years and has failed to find a solution.  None is proposed in this document. 
  1. Liveable Neighbourhoods – Next Generation 
  1. Apparently linked to traffic cells and on a larger scale.  Again, a solution for the City not North East Somerset.  Key is an understanding of where the displaced traffic goes. 
  1. Expanding Clean Air Zone and Air Quality Management Areas 
  1. It is difficult to support any expansion unless there is an efficient and sustainable public transport alternative.  It is important to be able to assess the impact of displaced traffic which is a weakness of the existing system. 
  1. Demand Management 
  1. The concept is to reduce parking availability and increase costs in order to reduce car use. 
  1. Such a concept must be linked to improved public transport and in particular improved rural public transport. This must be a precursor to any implementation of Demand Management solutions as without such investment there is a very real danger that this strategy will increase rural poverty. 
  1. Coach Strategy 
  1. There are obviously opportunities to improve the management of coaches within the City.  However, there are no firm proposals and no assessment of any potential downside.  Thed lack of any economic assessment is a major concern when tourism income is so important to the City of Bath 
  1. Rail freight distribution site 
  1. The concept of reducing vehicle movements by freight consolidation is laudable, however, without some idea as to how and where this will take place is very difficult to assess the practicality of the proposals.  Likewise, a shift from road to rail is something easy to support but there is no indication as to whether there is rail capacity, certainly there is no railhead in Bath. 
  1. Road freight package 
  1. The concept of reducing vehicle movements by freight consolidation is laudable, however, without some idea as to how and where this will take place is very difficult to assess the practicality of the proposals.  It is naïve to think that any sizeable part of deliveries can take place by e-cargo bikes without there being a considerable increase in costs.  This would be particularly problematic for a struggling retail sector. 
  1. Again, there needs to be an assessment both in terms of feasibility and economic impact. 
  1. Cleaner, greener school travel 
  1. The concepts proposed here have little relevance to the current reality of secondary school education outside of the City of Bath.  There needs to be a developed plan for North East Somerset children. 
  1. Connecting Bath to rural communities and market towns 
  1. Once again there are no specific proposals, just some headline statements: 
  1. Express bus routes and segregated cycle routes; 
  1. Mobility hubs and interchanges 
  1. Demand-responsive bus services 
  1. Improved cycle links 
  1. Local work hubs 
  1. More local goods and services, available within a 20 min walk 
  1. However, at the outset B&NES have said they have no control over buses which is a matter for WECA.   
  1. There is no suggestion as to how this will be achieved or how much it will cost or where the money will come from.  Members will not need reminding that we have no health or pharmacy services within the village for example. 
  1. The focus seems to be on the A4, A37 & A367.  We do not have a footpath to the A37 and it is more than 20 minutes walk from High Littleton not to mention Hallatrow Hill. 
  1. Rural Connectivity 
  1. Without a clear strategy for Rural Public Transport the proposals are of no help to rural communities. 
  1. Whilst improved walking routes and cycling provision is to be commended, the proposals for rural connectivity are meaningless without a public transport strategy.  It is and remains the “elephant in the room”. 
  1. For all the money being provided by Government to WECA, I fear that the “Cities” will grab the cash and leave nothing for the rural communities.  The result will be an increase in rural poverty and a reduction in rather than an increase in connectivity and local services.