14.1 Providing a high quality, convenient range of transport options to enable people to access jobs and the service and facilities they need in their lives is a significant challenge. If we succeed we can reduce congestion, reduce pollution, encourage healthier lifestyles and provide more enable more inclusive and affordable transport options.
14.2 Whilst travel is essential for everyone, reducing the need to travel and the distance people travel helps people reduce costs and lead more convenient lives. It also means people are less reliant on cars thereby reducing impacts on the environment. A challenge in the Local Plan will be to provide a good range of high quality facilities and work opportunities close to where people live.
14.3 However, cars will continue to play a vital role in people’s lives and providing for cars in terms of an effective road network, sufficient parking in the right locations, effective links with other modes of transport and the right opportunities to refuel has to be addressed through the Local Plan.
14.4 Alongside providing for cars, it is important other forms transport are also well provided for to ensure people have choice and to encourage healthier and more sustainable ways of travelling. The Local Plan will therefore need to address how public transport (buses and trains), cycling and walking are all effectively provided for.
14.5 Looking wider, the District has a strong position within the geography of Britain, given its proximity to the A45, A46, M40 and M42, and the busy Birmingham Snow Hill to London Marylebone rail line. Its relative proximity to the South East, but within the West Midlands, provides opportunities for the area but also means there are pressures on local transport networks.
Relevant Issue & Strategic Objectives
14.6 Warwick District Council’s Vision and Strategy: The Strategy for the Future and Sustainable Prosperity of Warwick District states:
“The Plan will ensure that the district has appropriate infrastructure in place that will... resolve air quality and traffic management problems and make sure public services are easily available and accessible.”
It goes on to explain that this will be delivered through
“a comprehensive sustainable transport package including, for example, local bus and rail services, new and diverted traffic routes, traffic free routes, a park and ride scheme, electric car promotion, cycle and footpath networks; but which does not include provision or support for HS2”
14.7 Relevant Issue: Road congestion and air pollution, particularly around the main junctions along the A46 and M40, the routes into the towns and within the town centres (Warwickshire County Council Local Transport Plan)
14.8 Strategic Objectives: See objectives 4 and 5 as set out in paragraphs 4.13 to 4.15 above.
Access to services and facilities:
Our Preferred Option is to enable access to services and facilities that people need through the right location of housing and employment sites and through the provision of effective transport infrastructure (see Maps 3,4 and 5)
Preferred Option: Sustainable forms for transport:
Our Preferred Option is to minimise the need to travel (see Maps 3,4 and 5) and to promote sustainable forms of transport (such as walking, cycling and public transport), by
- ensuring that new housing neighbourhoods have close access to a range of key facilities either within the development or within a short walk (e.g 15 minutes);
- focusing the location of new housing neighbourhoods on the fringe of existing urban areas or within/adjacent to villages that have key services such as a shop, school and are served by public transport ensuring opportunities for people to work close to home are available by encouraging super-fast broadband across the District;
- by locating new employment areas to enable inclusive and sustainable access to jobs from residential areas;
- encouraging, through infrastructure levies on new development, the provision of improved public transport to existing employment areas.
Preferred Option: Provision of Transport infrastructure
Our Preferred Option is to ensure mitigation against the negative transport impacts (such as additional congestion, impact on air quality) of new development by requiring developers to contribute to transport infrastructure improvements (for example road junction improvements, rail improvements, cycle networks, park & ride and bus services), ensuring this infrastructure improves safety, is convenient and affordable and minimise the impact of transport on climate change (e.g supporting alternative fuels) and where relevant to prepare a Transport Impact Assessment and Travel Plan (see Map 5).
We will safeguard land close to potential transport infrastructure improvement sites, as identified in the transport section of the Infrastructure Plan, to ensure appropriate schemes can be brought forward. Whenever possible we will ensure new infrastructure brings local benefits, helps with integration of different transport modes, improves existing infrastructure and minimises impact on the environment.
Preferred Option: Parking
Our preferred option is to review the Vehicle Parking Standards supplementary planning document (2007) in light of the National Planning Policy Framework to:
- ensure that sufficient car parking is provided within new residential developments to allow for convenient and safe parking
- maintain sufficient parking in town centres so as not to undermine their vitality, whilst ensuring that effective alternatives to the car for access to town centres are provided
- ensure that the level of provision of other non-residential car parking limits the number of additional car journeys, whilst ensuring that such car parking is in appropriate and safe locations (for instance by providing and encouraging use of park and ride facilities) and
- provide for high quality, convenient and secure cycle parking.
Preferred Option: Rural Transport
Our Preferred Option is to support a choice of effective and affordable transport options for people who live in rural areas by locating new development in villages with an existing bus service (See Housing – section 7 - for details of which villages this applies to)
Preferred Option: High Speed 2 Rail Line
Our preferred option is for the transport infrastructure proposals to make no provision or support for the High Speed 2 rail line (see Map 5) and encourage the Government to invest in existing rail infrastructure.
Justification for Preferred Options
Key Background papers:
- National Planning Policy Framework: paras 29 to 41
- The Local Transport White Paper, ‘Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon: Making Sustainable Local Transport Happen’ (January 2011)
- Warwickshire County Council Local Transport Plan 2011-2026
- Warwickshire County Council Strategic Transport Assessment (August 2011)
- Warwickshire County Council Strategic Transport Assessment (modelling report) – Overview report (March 2012)
National Transport Policy
14.9 The Local Transport White Paper, ‘Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon: Making Sustainable Local Transport Happen’ (January 2011) underlines the Government's vision for a sustainable local transport system that supports the economy and reduces carbon emissions
14.10 National transport policy is underpinned by five national transport goals:
- To reduce transport’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, with the desired outcome of tackling climate change.
- To support economic competitiveness and growth, by delivering reliable and efficient transport networks.
- To promote greater equality of opportunity for all citizens, with the desired outcome of achieving a fairer society.
- To contribute to better safety, security and health and longer life expectancy by reducing the risk of death, injury or illness arising and by promoting travel modes that are beneficial to health.
- To improve quality of life for transport users and non-transport users, and to promote a healthy natural environment.
14.11 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF): The NPPF requires local authorities to focus transport policy on delivering sustainable development and choice for people saying “The transport system needs to be balanced in favour of sustainable transport modes, giving people a real choice about how they travel.”
To do this the NPPF requires local authorities to:
- support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion.
- support a pattern of development which, where reasonable to do so, facilitates the use of sustainable modes of transport
- ensure plans and decisions take account of whether:
- the opportunities for sustainable transport modes have been taken to reduce the need for major transport infrastructure;
- safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all people;
- improvements can be undertaken within the transport network that cost effectively limit the significant impacts of the development. Development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe.
- ensure developments that generate significant movement are located where the need to travel will be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes can be maximised
- to take account of policies relating to rural areas
- aim for a balance of land uses encouraging shorter journey lengths for employment, shopping, leisure, education and other activities.
- locate key facilities such as primary schools and local shops within walking distance of most properties.
- If setting local parking standards, local planning
authorities should take into account:
- the accessibility of the development;
- the type, mix and use of development;
- the availability of and opportunities for public transport;
- local car ownership levels; and
- an overall need to reduce the use of high-emission vehicles.
Warwickshire Local Transport Plan 2011-2026
14.13 The Local Transport Plan summarises the challenges facing the County and the potential solutions as follows:
14.14 Transport and the Warwickshire Economy
- Improve the connectivity by public transport to enable journeys to take place and to maximise accessibility of labour markets to jobs
- Reduce lost productive time including by maintaining or improving the reliability and predictability of journey times on key local routes
- Support the delivery of planned housing and employment growth in ways whilst minimising congestion levels
- Ensure the maintenance and work on the highway network and structures supports the efficient movement of traffic
14.15 Transport and Carbon Emissions
- Accommodate development in locations which reduce the need to travel
- Encourage a shift to lower carbon forms of travel, including walking, cycling and public transport
- Where motorised transport is necessary, encourage the efficient use of vehicles (e.g. car sharing) and improve driving techniques
14.16 Safety Security and Health
- Continue to reduce the risk of death or injury due to accidents on the transport network
- Reduce / minimise the number of areas declared as having poor air quality as a result of road transport emissions
- Encourage a shift towards more active forms of travel, including promoting a more positive public perception of walking and cycling
14.17 Equality of Opportunity
- Enable disadvantaged people to more easily connect with a wide range of services and facilities
Support the ageing population and associated service needs
- Working with partner agencies to support the delivery of services in ways which improve access to services
14.18 Quality of Life in Warwickshire
- Minimise the impacts of transport on the built and natural environment
- Managing transport related noise
- Improve the quality of transport integration into streetscapes and the urban environment
- Enhance well-being and sense of community by creating more opportunities for social contact and better access to leisure activities and the natural environment
Research and Consultation
14.19 In the “Helping Shape the District” consultation undertaken in 2011 47% of respondents to the questionnaire agreed tackling road congestion and air pollution was important and that vast majority (69%) felt this would be best addressed through low growth.
14.20 In the sample survey undertaken at the same time, 68% agreed that road congestion and air pollution should be addressed through the Local Plan (18% disagreed), although the issues was not viewed as a high priority in comparison with crime, housing, the economy and community facilities.
14.21 Between 2000 and 2009 traffic levels fell in Kenilworth and Leamington and showed no change in Warwick (Warwickshire LTP 2011-2026). During the same period, traffic levels increased by 2-9% in Rugby, Bedworth and Nuneaton. The traffic reduction in the District’s towns can be attributed to a combination of factors including rising unemployment levels, increases in fuel prices and a higher level of awareness of different transport options available
14.22 For journeys to work, car usage is lower in Warwick District than across the County as a whole and conversely, levels of train usage, cycling and walking are all higher. This reflects the urban nature of much of the District. This data suggests that an approach which maintains a focus on the urban settlements of the District has the potential to reduce the need to travel and promote more sustainable forms of transport.
14.23 There are currently four declared Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) within Warwick District. in Warwick, Leamington Spa, and Kenilworth. Each of these has been declared as a result of careful monitoring which has shown poor air quality as a result of traffic.
14.24 The 2011 Strategic Transport Study for Warwick District looked at the transport impacts of three different growth scenarios – low growth (250 new homes per year); medium growth (500 new homes per year) and high growth (800 new homes per year). It concluded that:
14.25 Overall the network should be able to accommodate the different levels of growth proposed, but the capacity of existing services will not be sufficient to accommodate any of the levels of growth proposed
14.26 There will be areas of the network that will suffer from increased congestion issues with no potential mitigation options and that levels of congestion will be closely related to the level of growth adopted.
14.27 There may be some areas of the network that accrue significant benefits from well targeted mitigation measures especially where a critical mass of development exists.
14.28 The 2012 Strategic Transport Study (Modelling of Potential Development Site Options) was undertaken once the potential level of growth in the District had been agreed. This modelled the transport impacts of four collections of development sites:
- Option 1: Distribution around the Urban Fringe
- Option 2: Focus south of Warwick, Whitnash and Leamington
- Option 3: Distinctive settlements(minimising risk of coalescence)
- Option 4: Distributed Development including sustainable village expansions
14.29 The study concluded that:
14.30 All options of development sites can be accommodated in terms of traffic impact (subject to a combination of innovative engineering solutions combined with significant, effective, sustainable transport provision).
14.31 All options will have implications in terms of traffic impact
14.32 Option 4 has least impact prior to mitigation and accrues the greatest benefits in the Warwick and Leamington area from the mitigation packages.
14.33 Further benefits may be accrued in Option 4 through more extensive mitigation such as Leamington Northern Relief Road.
14.34 Option 2 accrues greater benefit in the Kenilworth and Stoneleigh area, however, less congestion is experienced in this area overall.
14.35 The report includes a range of potential mitigation schemes and initiatives – see Infrastructure Plan for details. These schemes include road and junction improvements, public transport enhancements, rail infrastructure, park and ride and improvements to the cycle network.
14.36 High-Speed Two (HS2) Rail: In January 2012 the government gave approval for the continuation of work to develop the detailed design and implementation strategy of the High Speed Two (HS2) rail proposal (see Map 5). Warwick District Council is opposed to the principle of the HS2 proposal as it considers that the cost of the project is not in the national interest and that there are alternative solutions that can be delivered at a much lower cost (both economically and environmentally) within a much shorter timescale. There are also concerns about the impact that HS2 will have on this district’s local environment, its economy and many communities.
14.37 A range of other options relating to transport have been considered such as:
- locating different land uses without reference to ease of access
- Different options for the distribution of development (see Housing – section 7), but these were rejected on the grounds that they would increase the need to travel and would potentially lead to greater reliance on the car.
- Lower levels of growth have also been considered (see section 6 on level of growth).
- alternative option would be to support HS2
- As an alternative, we could retain our current parking standards in to the future
14.38 These approaches are either not consistent with the requirements of the National Planning Policy or are not supported by the evidence in relation to how best to bring benefits locally. They have all therefore been rejected.