Changing the way we travel

Cycle, bus and train – they can all be linked in the future as part of a sustainable transport network in which people will transfer from one to the other.

That’s the vision behind funding proposals to revolutionise the way people get around Bath and North East Somerset and it’s being hailed by the council’s cabinet member as potentially ‘game changing’ in achieving net zero and tackling the climate emergency.

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has sent its “Prospectus” to central government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement fund. The aim is to decarbonise transport, reduce car use, tackle congestion, improve air quality and create healthier places across the WECA sub-region, whilst promoting local economies and improving connectivity and employment opportunities.

The Prospectus is asking the government for new investment across the sub-region, including Bath & North East Somerset, in infrastructure for bus, rail, integrated ticketing, Liveable Neighbourhoods, walking and cycling- all leading to a step change in sustainable travel.

Cllr Sarah Warren

Councillor Sarah Warren, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Climate and Sustainable Travel said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has championed sustainable travel including introducing the first charging Clean Air Zone outside of London and the development of our Liveable Neighbourhoods programme. But if we are to achieve net zero by 2030 we must work with our WECA partners to secure the scale of investment we need in walking, cycling and public transport across our sub-region to deliver a step change.  If we don’t it’s predicted CO2 emissions from transport will rise by an astonishing 22% across the West of England by 2036. We must act now.

“This Prospectus is potentially a “game changer” in the provision of integrated sustainable transport.  My vision is for residents to be able to leave home, safely cycle or walk to their closest transport interchange, hop on a reliable, quick bus and then transfer to a train for their destination if necessary – all seamlessly, and only needing to buy one ticket for their entire journey. It works in London and it can work here.”

WECA’s proposals to the Government under the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement fund include transformational improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure to make active travel options safer and easier to use and improvements to key travel corridors, including:

  • The A4 between Bath and Bristol – improving public transport and cycling and walking infrastructure, and a new transport hub at Hicks Gate
  • The A37 between the Somer Valley and Bristol and the A367 between the Somer Valley and Bath – improving public transport and also the integration of public transport with walking, cycling and the public realm surrounding access points to the network

Additional improvements proposed in the Prospectus include:

  • the development of low traffic and Liveable Neighbourhoods – 15 areas delivering the first phase of this are already being progressed by Bath & North East Somerset Council
  • investment in walking and cycling facilities to improve the attractiveness of active travel, including new modes such as e-scooters and increased provision of cycle parking spaces and off-road and segregated walking and cycling routes
  • more electric vehicle charging points
  • improvements to Oldfield Park station

3 Comments

  1. I’m afraid I don’t share Cllr Warren’s optimism that, “..a sustainable transport network in which people will transfer from one to the other..” will be “.. ‘game changing’ in achieving net zero and tackling the climate emergency…”. What hasn’t been considered is the unchangeable human trait of avoiding inconvenience. No-one likes inconvenience and transferring between three or four modes of transport, whilst carrying bags, children etc. is not an attractive proposition, even when it’s not raining. I implore Cllr Warren, and other well-intentioned members of the Council, to forget about saving the Planet from Climate Change and concentrate what they can achieve for their Bath and North east Somerset Residents. An attainable goal that would be ‘game-changing’ for Bath’s residents would be the removal of the Primary Route designation from the A36, and the protection of our City and heritage structures e.g. Cleveland Bridge from the congestion, pollution and destruction brought to it by through-traffic, particularly the soon-to-be-welcomed 48 Tonne HGVs.
    Yes, it’ll be a challenge, and party politics may try to scupper the necessary collaboration between B&NES and WCC, but our Councillors cannot go on re-arranging the deckchairs on the Bath Titanic, hoping to distract us all from the main problem – through-traffic on the A36, funnelled into Bath’s residential streets. This is a matter of life and premature death for many of us that live beside that road.

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  2. It’s not only a climate emergency, but also a health one. Observing overweight people heaving themselves out of cars after having driven half a mile down the road to get a paper leaves me cross. Just as drink driving became viewed as anti-social behaviour, so too should casual and unnecessary use of private cars. We also need car clubs, so that our beautiful Georgian streets are not cluttered and spolit by masses of cars that spend 23 hours out of 24 parked up. The city of Aberdeen has made a start on this, integrating car hire with public transport ticketing.

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  3. Car Clubs, like public transport, are notoriously unreliable. I know this because my nephew started up the Streetcar operation in London, and availability was always a nightmare for user & their ops manager.
    An individual’s health is his own affair, and the NHS has been charged with supporting his choices.
    UK society enjoys ever-increasing levels of convenience in every aspect of life. It also enjoys ever-increasing levels of personal freedom. Any effort to row back on Convenience or Personal Choice inn this country would be perceived as the first step towards either Communism or National Socialism. I know its shocking, but I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that, as didn’t Ronald Reagan when making his remark about Communism entering the US in the guise of Liberal Democracy.
    As for causing death by drink-driving, I believe that’s a form of involuntary manslaughter – quite different from letting ones own health deteriorate. So we shouldn’t equate the two.
    Please don’t get cross, let’s just focus on the things that are within your control, and our Council’s control. Like, for instance, the Cleveland Bridge Planning approval travesty. That Planning decision has infringed both Bath Residents convenience and their health. No-one chooses to die of respiratory disease.

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