Transport for the South East (TfSE) who are the sub-national transport body for the south east of England have released their Strategic Investment Plan for public consultation. The consultation closes on 12th September.
Find out more at one of these consultation events: 5 July or 11 July or 12 July. To register click HERE
Despite TfSE saying that by 2050, the South East of England will be a leading global region for net-zero carbon, sustainable economic growth, we remain concerned that the proposed Strategic Investment Plan includes a considerable amount of major road investment [supported by Strategic Outline Business Cases, (SOBC) or even Government allocated funds such as the Arundel By-pass* ) with sustainable transport schemes listed just at the ‘ideas level’ without substantive work having been carried out to put forward a business case to Government. Alongside this, and on first reading, there seems to be no justification in the Plan that shows how facilitating air travel will contribute to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Odd statements in the Plan
They go on to say ” A better designed highway network will deliver improved air quality in urban areas and reduce impact of road traffic on the South Downs National Park“. This seems a very odd statement to make when much of the land area encompassed by the National Park is rural. We ask ‘how can improving the air quality in urban areas benefit the National Park‘? The urban focus of the document continues with TfSE saying “Improved air quality in urban areas” and “100,000 fewer private car return trips each weekday 10,000 tonnes less CO2 equivalent emitted” We ask ‘Will vehicular traffic therefore be routed onto country roads”?
Clearly the document needs studying in some detail, and we shouldn’t pay too much attention to some of the headline statements. The reality may be that it’s ‘business as usual’ with a ‘roads oriented’ plan without any major change to train and bus as well as cycling and walking investment. Sadly, at national level we already know that the Government have reduces their financial commitment to the Bus Back Better programme and to the local cycling and walking plans. Meanwhile the government’s commitment to the current £27 billion road building programme remains unaltered.