Plan to drive down transport emissions

Road traffic currently accounts for 29 per cent of carbon emissions across the district says a report going before B&NES cabinet on Thursday, May 5th.

Under consideration will be a ground-breaking, long-term plan to decarbonise transport and reduce the impact of travel on the climate.

The report has been drawn up following months of detailed consultation with residents and stakeholders.

Two separate consultations were held, supported by webinars and meetings. Almost five hundred and fifty people responded to a questionnaire designed to gauge the strength of support for the council’s plans and the extent to which they would reduce people’s carbon footprint.

The feedback received has been taken on board and changes made to address people’s concerns.

The report says that road traffic currently accounts for 29% of carbon emissions across the district and warns that unless there’s a rapid shift to more sustainable ways of travel the council won’t meet its 2030 net zero target.

The ‘Journey to Net Zero’ plan is designed to drive a rapid shift in the way people get around. It includes significant improvements to public transport, the removal of through-traffic from Bath city centre and potentially a new mass transit system for Bath.

Councillor Sarah Warren, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Sustainable Travel said: “We are making progress in tackling the climate emergency and carbon emissions across B&NES have dropped over the past twenty years, but the stark reality is without a big reduction in transport emissions we won’t achieve our carbon neutrality target.

“We need to make big changes and fundamentally rethink how we get around, but we need people to get on board with our plan. That’s why we’ve consulted widely and made changes to address the concerns they raised. For example, people said the hills around Bath made walking and cycling difficult, so we’ve included more detail about the benefits of e-bikes. Others said the current public transport network made it difficult for them to leave their cars at home. We don’t yet have the powers or funding to create the bus service we’d ultimately like to see, but we have added further details about the West of England Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to give people a better understanding the far-reaching improvements we are planning to make to existing bus services.

“In the meantime I would encourage everyone to make good use of our existing bus services, as we can all make a difference through the transport choices we make every day. It’s only by using our bus services that they remain economic to run.

“For those concerned about the impact on businesses, we’ve provided case studies which demonstrate that where car access has been restricted and the public realm improved the impact on businesses has been positive.

“I believe we now have a plan that will enable us to drive down transport emissions, improve air quality, health and wellbeing and tackle congestion while meeting the future transport needs of people living, working and visiting the area.”

The report says the plan provides a coherent long-term vision for transport giving people viable, sustainable alternatives to using their cars by providing better public transport facilities, frequent reliable fast bus services and safe cycling and walking routes.

It includes:

  • mobility hubs to help people in rural communities cycle and walk to direct, convenient bus services into 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 introduction of integrated ticketing

Councillor Warren added: “We have achieved much already: we’ve introduced the first charging Clean Air Zone outside London, we’re developing Liveable Neighbourhoods, we’re consulting on active travel schemes, we operate a loan bike scheme, we’re installing more electric vehicle charge points and we’re trialling e-scooters, but we need to do more to reduce transport emissions if we are to reach carbon neutrality.

“This plan will help us to create better and healthier options for people to get around, while recognising there are times when some of us have no option but to travel by car.”

You can read the Journey to Net Zero plan here

You can read the report to cabinet here

You can watch the cabinet meeting at 6.30pm on Thursday 5 May on our YouTube channel.

You can find more information on what the council is doing to address the climate and ecological emergencies here


  1. Not nearly good enough Cllr Warren, not by a very long way. Your vaunted ambition “..removal of through-traffic from Bath city centre ..” is a mere sop, a gesture, a sound bite which will have little benefit for the people who LIVE in Bath’s residential streets along the route of that through traffic – Bathwick St., and the London Road.
    Your council’s frequently fanfare’d initiatives are all mightily flawed :
    1. Clean Air Zone – OK, this one isn’t greatly flawed, but it’s a Central Gov initiative, not yours.
    2. Liveable Neighbourhoods – why, to widen the gap between Bath’s ‘Haves’ and ‘Have Nots’?
    3. Active travel schemes – what, like eScooters for those too lazy to walk, or new cycle lanes where they’re not needed, except perhaps to block the flow of traffic?
    4. Loan bike scheme – Boris’s Bikes in London are rarely used now, just taking up pavement space
    5. Installing more electric vehicle charge points – where, on our pavements?
    6. Trialling e-scooters – why? They don’t increase Active Travel or reduce Congestion. They just attract people away from using expensive and often-late buses.
    If you need to do more to reduce transport emissions to reach carbon neutrality, then first of all forget the above, they are mere distractions to convince your electorate that the problem of pollution and congestion is being handled successfully by this Council. It is not.

    Why not show some real leadership and resolve on your ‘Journey to Net Zero’ and adopt the one, and only, effective measure that would cut both traffic pollution and congestion at a stroke – stop the A36 and A46 through traffic, and the University traffic, from crawling over your foolishly strengthened Cleveland Bridge. If ever one Planning Decision spelt catastrophe for our City (and our Council) it was your decision to allow the Bridge to be strengthened, thus attracting heavier and greater volumes of through traffic into our residential streets. And please don’t insult us by repeating that the decision was beyond your Council’s control – no real effort was made to stand up to the DfT, not least because there was a ‘bribe’ of £3.5m involved. How far have you got on your collaboration with Wiltshire County Council? Yes, I know they’re Tories, but …….

    1. Honestly this is a really poorly researched response. Using the two week October 2017 CAZ ANPR data set, of the 28,000 vehicles that travelled along London Road, only 1000 used the A36/A46 route (both ways). It’s a miniscule amount.

      It’s also key to realise the critical air pollution point was Gay Street, hence the last Tory administration’s addition of lights on Queen Square that produced a skin of your teeth politically palatable CAZ D model (HGVs, Vans, Buses) that has failed miserably.

      Blaming a council for a Highways England required repair of a bridge on a national trunk network road also seems very far fetched.

      As to Liveable Neighbourhoods, the clear lack of understanding of their benefits they produce and the way they are positively received when they go in also shows how little you’ve looked into them. They reduce collisions with pedestrians, reduce crime (particularly sexual assault), they reduce car ownership as people feel able to walk/cycle, they build stronger communities as streets become much more pleasant and are no longer rat running traffic sewers, and they give children their travel independence making parents confident enough to let their kids cycle to school on their own.

      As to eScooters, they are a phenomenal new point to point *public transport* option. The real issue is that the WECA trial for Bath did not cover the whole of the city and became a tourist attraction rather than a truly functional public transport service. The lack of allocating on-street parking spaces for eScooter storage didn’t help, and the DfT have explicitly asked trials to start doing that.

      The council and WECA are putting their money where their mouth is. They are showing visionary leadership in this space. You’re just sitting in a car, in traffic, breathing in NOx.

Comments are closed.