People are being asked for their views on life-changing ideas to tackle the impact of travel on our local climate. They include removing through traffic from Bath city centre and a new mass transit system for Bath and are set out in a ground-breaking transport document published by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The Journey to Net Zero plan sets out the changes that need to be made to the way people move around our area if the council is to meet its goal of carbon neutrality for Bath and North East Somerset by 2030.
Transport accounts for 29% of the district’s carbon emissions. Analysis of how to reduce transport emissions following the council’s climate emergency declaration in 2019 suggested that the targets should be:
- to reduce vehicle mileage by 25% per person
- a shift to 76% Zero & Ultra Low Emission vehicles (ULEV) and 14% hybrid vehicles
- only 10% of vehicles to be powered by petrol and diesel
- increase in mass transit, walking and cycling
The council is now seeking the public’s views on the ideas for change set out in the Journey to Net Zero document, which include:
- the introduction of traffic cells to remove through-traffic from the city centre
- mobility hubs to help people in rural communities cycle and walk to direct, convenient bus services into Bath
- a potential new mass transit system for Bath
- improved access into Bath along the main corridors through a step change in public transport provision and improved access to bus services
- new, safer cycling routes, improved crossing facilities and secure bike storage at school sites
- improved accessibility for disabled transport users including developing new technologies
The council is now asking residents to give their views on the proposals that it believes are needed to effect a shift to public transport, walking and travel by bike that will be needed to deliver the council’s net zero climate ambition.
People are invited to respond to the consultation at www.bathnes.gov.uk/journeytonetzero before February 7.
The Journey to Net Zero consultation document also sets out background information to help people form views on the ideas.
Councillor Sarah Warren, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Sustainable Travel, said: “This is a pivotal moment in our journey to net zero, and I think everyone who travels around our area will be interested in these ideas and want to have their say on them. We want to hear from you on those projects we feel we need to pursue to provide better, more sustainable transport choices.
“We have introduced the first charging Clean Air Zone outside of London and are currently working with local communities on our Liveable Neighbourhoods programme. But to go further we need your help with a more fundamental rethink of how we get around our area – and the big changes we will need to make to our transport system to get to carbon neutrality by 2030.
“The climate emergency is a global challenge and we are committed to playing our part in solving it. We know that large numbers of people currently have no choice but to use their cars as they don’t have safe cycle routes that they can use away from traffic or don’t have a reliable or frequent enough bus service. Reductions in car use can only come if we start providing more cycle facilities, better public transport facilities and a safer transport network. Together we have the power to turn the climate emergency around but it’s going to require all of us to make a change in the way we travel, which could be made possible through Journey to Net Zero.”
A public webinar on Journey to Net Zero will take place from 6pm to 7pm on January 24. Councillor Matt McCabe, cabinet assistant for Planning and Sustainable Transport, will take questions on the document alongside Councillor Warren and senior officers. Register here
Journey to Net Zero has evolved from the Transport Delivery Action Plan for Bath, which was consulted on last year, and has now been fully updated to reflect recent changes such as the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement for the West of England Combined Authority as well as the continued importance of addressing the climate and ecological emergency. A report on the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement Business Case, which summarises the key transport projects in Bath and North East Somerset to be funded by WECA in the period 2022-27, is being presented to cabinet on January 27.
The council declared a climate emergency in March 2019 and an ecological emergency in July 2019, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality in our area by 2030. Read more about what the council is doing to address these here
In March 2021, the council launched a Clean Air Zone in Bath to urgently tackle harmful levels of air pollution caused by the most polluting taxis, vans, buses and larger commercial vehicles regularly driving in the city.