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.