Category Archives: Regional Issues

Transport strategy too slow

We submitted our response to Transport for the South East’s (TfSE) consultation on its draft regional transport strategy on 10 January along with many other organisations and over 3,000 people who used Friends of the Earth’s template letter.  While we were supportive of much of the vision and high level objectives, we were less supportive with much of the detail.

In summary, SCATE welcome the following:

  • The 2050 net-zero carbon target
  • The move to planning for people rather than for vehicles
  • That net biodiversity gain is mentioned
  • Acknowledgement that EVs won’t solve the congestion problem

But had the following concerns:

  • The lack of urgency in tackling car dependency / culture to achieve modal shift and traffic reduction – can’t carry on building roads and put off change for 5 – 10 years
  • A pathway to net-zero carbon before 2050 with intermediate targets is missing.
  • All proposals should be assessed to show how they contribute to meeting the carbon targets
  • The preferred scenario fails to prioritise traffic reduction and instead shows an 8% increase in traffic and a 13% decrease in active travel over today’s levels
  • Local (sustainable) connectivity, particularly active travel, should be treated as a strategic priority
  • There is no mechanism proposed to ‘lock in’ modal shift with increased bus and rail (or active travel) provision so that the resultant road traffic reduction isn’t lost over time
  • The strategy has a list of major road building that will destroy biodiversity despite wanting to promote biodiversity net gain
  • A greater focus on seamless integration between sustainable modes is needed
  • New developments should be based on high quality mass transit and active travel networks, combined with good local service provision, not new roads
  • The Integrated Sustainability Appraisal while containing some good background information is undermined by a number of unsubstantiated and incorrect assertions around health and equality. It also misses some important impacts regarding roadbuilding.

A copy of our full response is available here.

A new regional vision on the horizon

Transport for the South East (TfSE) is a new regional transport body, whose board is made up of local highways authorities and some of the region’s local enterprise partnerships. It is looking to co-ordinate strategic transport planning and could allow for collaboration and innovation across the South East. However, if done badly, it could just mean more of the same, outdated road building mentality that has served us so poorly to date.

TfSE is in the process of drafting a regional transport strategy. The strategy will influence how public money is spent in the region. That is why it is important to get involved with the forthcoming consultation. We need to make sure that sustainability is given a high priority and that the final strategy demonstrates how it will play its part in reducing carbon emissions. (Transport emissions are currently out of control in the UK and are being exacerbated by all the road building that is taking place and by the freeze on fuel duty).

The launch event for consultation on the draft strategy is on the 10th October in Farnborough. There will then be a series of afternoon and early evening events across the south east.  The afternoon events (held between 1.30pm-4pm) are invitation only, but these can be requested from TfSE via

These are then followed by an informal drop-in session from 4.30pm-6pm where you can have a one-to-one conversation about the draft strategy. If you are interested in going to one of these you will need to register to go through clicking the relevant event link below.

Afternoon invitation event 1.30pm-4pm.

Reading Town Hall, Weds 16th Oct 2019 1.30pm – 4pm

Woking, WWF Living Centre, Thurs 17th Oct 1.30pm – 4pm

Canterbury, Christ Church University, Tues 22nd Oct 2019 1.30pm – 4pm

Brighton, Jury’s Inn, Weds 23rd Oct 2019 1.30pm – 4pm

Southampton, Central Hall, Thurs 24th Oct 1.30pm – 4pm


Early evening informal drop-in session 4.30pm-6.00pm.


Reading Town Hall, Weds 16th Oct 2019 4.30pm – 6pm

Woking, WWF Living Centre, Thurs 17th Oct 4.30pm – 6pm

Canterbury, Christ Church University, Tues 22nd Oct 2019 4.30pm – 6pm

Brighton, Jury’s Inn, Weds 23rd Oct 2019 4.30pm – 6pm

Southampton, Central Hall, Thurs 24th Oct 4.30pm – 6pm


SCATE will be publishing its response to the draft Strategy and guidance on how to respond to the consultation as soon as possible after the 10th October.

Body seeks transport powers

Transport for the South East (TfSE) is bidding to become a statutory body and is asking for views on its proposal.  It was set up in 2017 and involves local authorities, business groups and other organisations across Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and Berkshire.

Some SCATE members have attended stakeholder workshops run by TfSE about a new regional transport strategy that they are developing and which will be out for consultation this autumn.

TfSE says:  Statutory status would give us the ability to directly influence the government’s decisions on transport issues and give us the tools we need to deliver our transport strategy

SCATE believes that there is a case for a regional transport body with the relevant powers to enable positive and sustainable transport solutions to happen. However there are worrying signs in the consultation proposal that the over-riding aim is really to invest in transport that delivers economic growth.  Whilst TfSE talks about investment in rail and bus networks there seems to be a focus on the expansion of aviation and damaging new roads.

The paper does acknowledge the high quality environmental and historic “assets” that we have in the region, but it does not really talk about how a new statutory body can ensure that these are protected and enhanced whilst investing in new transport infrastructure.  Neither does it concern itself with health and well-being, air pollution and most importantly of all, climate change.

The government recently adopted the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a number of Local Authorities in the South East (who are members of TfSE) have passed climate emergency motions in the past few months.

Transport is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK – accounting for 27% of emissions.[i] Transport is the only sector where emissions have increased since 1990. It is the key area which is undermining efforts to tackle climate change.

At a time of climate crisis it would be a huge oversight to set up a new statutory body which has no remit or power to deliver change through policies and actions that ensure modal shift and an overall decrease in emissions from road traffic and aviation.  Part of the problem is the lack of engagement with the public or other key stakeholders in the region such as from the community and voluntary sectors.  We believe that there needs to be strong conditions on the approval of any new statutory body for the South East and that it needs to be inclusive and broaden the range of stakeholders it engages with.

If you have views please get them in soon. The deadline is July 31st. SCATE and some of its member groups will be putting in responses, however if our concerns are to be taken seriously we need others to amplify them.  You can email responses to

SCATE believes the new body should:

  • Support sustainable economic prosperity, rather than growth per se which often comes with severe social and environmental impacts
  • Have a duty to protect and enhance environmental and historical assets, improve health and well-being and reduce air and noise pollution.
  • Demonstrate best practice in the delivery of net biodiversity gain in all infrastructure delivery
  • Have a duty to invest in systems and schemes to reduce carbon emissions, in line with UK national budgets and targets and to appraise all infrastructure schemes against these
  • Be fully open and transparent with regards to both the board and any sub-groups or advisory fora, all of which should be open to the public to attend, with agendas, papers and meeting minutes published as per the standards operated by local authorities
  • Engage with a wider number of stakeholders, especially the community and voluntary sector who have largely been excluded to date

[i] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (2018a) Final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics 1990-2016. 

Nominate good housing developments for an award

Have you moved recently to a new housing development area? Do you know someone that has? Were you involved in the creation of one of these areas? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, and you are proud of where you now live or what you have helped create, then keep on reading.

Transport for New Homes are looking for examples of new housing developments that promote sustainable transport options. If your new housing area promotes walking, cycling and public transport then submit your nomination for the Transport for New Homes award before 26 August.

What’s the criteria?

  • Developments must be in the UK
  • The development must not be over 5 years old
  • A minimum of 500 homes that are mostly occupied
  • Attractive public transport and good walking and cycling routes

There is a growing movement which recognises that over reliance on car use is increasing carbon emissions. Research has shown that creating new roads and expanding existing ones only serves to increase traffic. We need to move away from this method of development and travel in order to combat climate change. Through developing sustainable transport solutions we can do this.

We need new housing developments to lead the way. If developments are designed taking into consideration 21st century issues like global warming, then they will be able to play an active role in preventing it. Through promoting cycling, walking and public transport in these developments, we can move away from an over-reliance on car use. This will help reduce carbon emissions and also foster a healthier and cleaner way of life.

If you don’t know of something good happening maybe a colleague or friend does?  Please do let us see any nomination you send.

If you live in a new development where the transport options are affecting you in a negative way we’d be interested to hear your experiences too.  Contact us and let us know.

The Time is Now

It was great to see so many concerned people at the Time is Now mass lobby of MP’s in parliament last week. Transport is a key issue that many people were quizzing their MP’s about.

Research shows that transport is the largest source of greenhouse gases and is the only sector where emissions have increased since 1990. This highlights why a modal shift away from cars is necessary to reduce the carbon footprint of transport. If we can focus on alternatives such as improving cycling infrastructure, promoting public transport and developing more efficient bus and train services, then we can move towards tackling climate change.

We need to ensure MPs and other decision makers stop supporting plans to increase the size of roads which will generate further car use. -taking us in the wrong direction on carbon emissions.

We know some SCATE supporters made it to the Time is Now mass lobby. Were you there? We would love to hear about how you found the occasion and what kind of responses you got from your MP. Get in contact on Facebook or twitter to let us know, we would love to see any photos you took.

Some MPs did not come and meet their constituents. If yours didn’t please do write to them and see if you can get any commitments in writing saying they will support funding for active travel and public transport and that they will oppose new road building in their area.

Be part of the solution

On 15 June, we held our first proper networking event in Brighton – it was a really positive afternoon with people from across East and West Sussex attending –  including a number of new councillors from Brighton & Hove, Chichester, Arun, Mid-Sussex and Horsham District.

People appreciated being able to get together and to make connections.  We had interesting talks from Transport for New Homes, a new organisation looking at how bad new transport infrastructure is for big new housing developments and what we can do about it.  We had an inspiring talk from John Stewart about the value of working in alliances and other tips for campaigning to stop damaging new roads.  Finally we had a presentation on SCATE’s New Transport Vision from Kia Trainor one of our Committee members.

There were some very productive workshops in the afternoon looking at what we could do, both individually and together, to make a difference and bring about positive change.  At the end of the day a number of us retired to the pub to carry on the conversations.  If you haven’t signed up to SCATE why not do so now?

SCATE strategy shortlisted for transport planning award

SCATE’s New Vision strategy has achieved recognition from the Transport Planning Society (TPS) by way of inclusion on its awards shortlist for community led transport schemes.

Hosted by Transport Select Committee Chair Lilian Greenwood MP, the TPS held a reception for presentations of its People’s Award at the House of Commons in October 2018.

TPS were very interested in our campaign and resulting strategy ‘A New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast’, with praise for its fresh approach. After speaking with SCATE members Kay Wagland and Derrick Coffee, Lilian Greenwood MP was happy to take up the offer of a summary copy.

Kay with the London Borough of Waltham Forest ‘Mini Holland’ Cycle Scheme team, who have transformed cycle infrastructure and increased cycle useage in the Borough

In congratulating all participants, Greenwood said:

We all rely on transport to connect us to jobs, schools, family, friends and vital services, but it can be easy to forget about the planning that goes into making transport work.

“These finalists have shown that when communities take centre stage, telling the professionals what good transport looks like, they can deliver real and lasting benefits for local people.

“I congratulate all the projects who have been shortlisted for this important award, and it was great hearing more about them when they visited the House of Commons today.”

TPS is supported by leading consultants, academics and local authorities passionate about linking transport and land planning – from ‘street and community’ level up to ‘area wide’ strategic plans – with a preference for evidence based choices over ‘scheme led’ approaches.

Perhaps appropriately, the reception almost coincided with the launch pf and publicity around the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which highlighted the need for significant investment in sustainable modes of transport, integration with land use planning and behavioural changes in the transport sector.

Kay with Keith Buchan of TPS and Stephen Joseph, who until recently was long serving CEO of Campaign for Better Transport and panel judge of entries.

New Direction briefing

Our New Direction briefing aims to start a conversation about a vision for a cleaner, greener and less congested south coast. We look at how society as a whole can benefit from a more sustainable approach to planning and transport.

This approach, free from the destructive building of new roads, would help preserve the South Downs National Park, protect precious habitats such as ancient woodland and avert an increase in air and noise pollution.

The briefing is based on our full report exploring the evidence behind our thinking, which was written by Independent Transport Planning in conjunction with the University of the West of England.

If you would like to get involved with developing a vision, please get in touch and sign up to SCATE.

Read our New Direction briefing now

Transport for the South East (TfSE) have published a draft strategy

A new sub-national transport body for the South East, Transport for the South East (TfSE), was launched in 2017. The chair is Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council. The vice-chair is Cllr Tony Page, the deputy leader of Reading Borough Council and representative of the Berkshire Local Transport Forum.

TfSE takes in Berkshire, Brighton and Hove, Kent, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Medway, Portsmouth, Southampton, Surrey, East Sussex and West Sussex.

TfSE together with the area’s 16 transport authorities and five local enterprise partnerships are to work directly with the Department for Transport and will involve other key stakeholders, including Highways England, Network Rail and transport operators and users.

They have been developing a Transport Strategy – click the image below to read the document.


TfSE said on their web site:

The South East in 2050: Our Strategy

At the heart of Transport for the South East is our evolving transport strategy for the region; a strategy to transform travel in ways which improve people’s lives and help the economy to grow.

Our strategy will take us to the year 2050. We know the South East, like the rest of the country, will be vastly different in 30 years’ time. The ways we travel, how we work, live, communicate, consume and spend our leisure time will all be radically different. The purpose of our strategy work is to anticipate and adapt to these changes. We can shape the future, with the right investment, technology and insight to guide us.

Our final strategy, the blueprint for transport in the South East, will be completed at the end of 2019. But work is already under way on its building blocks. The first of these is our Economic Connectivity Review. This is a study of how the South East’s economy works, how it connects to national and international markets and which are the key corridors of transport where investment will have the greatest effect.

The study is being conducted by consultants Steer Davies Gleave and has been published in draft for key partners and stakeholders to give us their views on this initial blueprint by 19 June 2018.

We’ll be consulting with partners, businesses and residents across the South East once we have drafted the final strategy for our region. This will guide the work of Transport for the South East from the moment it becomes a statutory body, expected to be by 2020.