20 April 2018
The Green Party supports the development of a pan-Northern transport strategy that ensures the northern regions enjoy similar levels of transport investment to London and the South East.
However, unless it is radically revised, we cannot support many of the proposals in the Strategic Transport Plan (STP).
Rapid inter-city links must not be developed at the expense of local services. Concentrating most new spending on rapid inter-city links, means limiting resources for these local services to improve city networks. The continuing reduction in local government expenditure is severely limiting the ability of councils and local transport authorities to improve networks within their boundaries, but without this investment the impact of Transport for the North (TfN)’s proposals will be significantly reduced.
We support the STP’s proposed major investment in rail infrastructure and improved services, although we do not support the planned expansion of HS2, which will have very limited impact on connectivity in the north until well after 2030.
We do not support the proposal for major investment in new road schemes intended to facilitate more and longer road journeys. In the lifetime of the plan, the widespread adoption of autonomous and connected vehicles will reduce demand for more roads.
The strategy overlooks the importance of digital connectivity, which we believe will become increasingly important over the next decade. Not only will this reduce the need to travel, but reduce the need for such ambitious road building proposals. Investing in more ‘digital’ connectivity and within city regions - rather than physical connectivity along corridors (which is what the STP is proposing) - would be best for sustainability and a transformed Northern economy.
On the ‘carbon test’ the plan fails to deliver a convincing strategy and we cannot support it on this ground alone. In presenting a regional transport strategy for 16 million people, Transport for the North must set out to achieve the Committee on Climate Change’s recommended carbon target: 44% reduction by 2030 (surface transport), together with a threshold for aviation carbon.
The Green Party believes the plan requires an explicit carbon reduction objective and appropriate target which should shapes every aspect and apply to all its partners.
Cllr Andrew Cooper (Leader of the Green Group on Kirklees Council) said:
“We want the plan to be judged on how well it can deliver improved quality of life, health and well-being in the north - as well as its economy - over the next 30 years.
“The failure of the Strategic Transport Plan to embrace the requirements of climate change is very disappointing. Overall it fails to imagine a future with less travel demand as a result of digital developments, carbon targets and a more self-reliant economy that provides a better quality of life across the three regions of the north.”
For more information contact: Chas Ball firstname.lastname@example.org(submission co-ordinator) on 07970 666146 or 01484 454477