All aboard for the county’s future transport journey
At its meeting on 27 January, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the Local Transport Plan (2020-2041) and recommend it for adoption by the full council in March.
The existing Local Transport Plan (LTP) was agreed in June 2016. Since then the council has reviewed the plan to reflect changes to national, regional, county and local priorities, while looking further into the future, towards 2041.
The review also took in to account transport requirements identified in the district council’s Local Plans and the Joint Core Strategy (JCS).
There was a public consultation in early 2020. The level of engagement was excellent, with almost 500 written responses received from a wide range of stakeholder groups - statutory partners, district councils, parish councils, action groups, organisations and individuals. Public meetings were also held in all six of the county’s districts as part of the consultation.
Most comments were related to improving sustainable methods for getting around the county such as public transport, rail and cycling which can reduce congestion and help meet climate emergency targets.
The LTP reflects this with an increased emphasis on sustainable transport throughout the plan and the introduction of a new walking policy which aims to provide safe and well connected pedestrian routes to encourage walking, help people to become more active and support the county’s tourist industry.
The council is committed to playing its part in global carbon reduction following a motion on climate change, which was unanimously supported at the council meeting in May 2019.
It was agreed that the council’s major plans should have clearly identified ways to reduce carbon emissions so the Local Transport Plan sets out a policy to reduce transport carbon emissions and improve air quality by reducing travel demand, switching to active travel and promoting the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles.
Examples of proposals to get this done include investing in over 200 electric vehicle charging points in residential areas, promoting a cleaner public sector vehicle fleet and working with public transport providers to accelerate the change to cleaner vehicles. In line with these proposals the council has recently unveiled three new plug-in electric highways vans, which will be used to help repair roads across the county.
Last year the county council signed up to a new UK100 pledge which moves the target for Gloucestershire to become a carbon neutral county from 2050 to 2045, recognising the global urgency for tackling climate change.
To support the UK100 Pledge the LTP now proposes to bring forward the target date for the county’s transport to become carbon neutral by 2045.
The transport schemes listed in the LTP have been selected from a variety of sources and although they do not represent a commitment by the county council for funding, they do reflect Gloucestershire’s transport priorities. The priorities identified should not be considered a final list as the plan will be subject to periodic reviews. Eight additional transport schemes are proposed to be included in the final LTP.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning said: “I’m really pleased that we decided to review and update the Local Transport Plan and I’m grateful for the terrific response we had to last year’s consultation.
“I will be asking cabinet to agree that the LTP should be recommended for adoption at our council meeting in March. Transport provides benefits for everyone in the county in some way but it also produces around a third of our carbon emissions. This means it’s vital that we have this long term plan to guide our journey towards a more sustainable and carbon neutral future for the county’s transport.”
You can read the full cabinet report here.