Local Group Name - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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We welcome the Council’s intention to drop park-and-ride scheme for the East of Bath

Monday, 17 July 2017 16:12

Meadows from Solsbury Hill Meadows from Solsbury Hill Richard Wayman

The Avonside branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England welcomed Bath and North East Somerset Council’s intention to drop a scheme to add a further park-and-ride to the East of Bath.

CPRE’s Avonside director, Sophie Spencer said,

‘CPRE Avonside have long been opposed to a further park-and-ride facility being introduced to the East of Bath. We are delighted to hear of the Council’s intention to drop this scheme, which would have caused serious damage to the Avon Green Belt, as well as intruding on the Cotswold AONB and the Bath World Heritage City. Park and rides of this scale and location are, for good reason, an outdated principle that can cause harm to existing public transport and increase vehicle miles travelled. Nor do they necessarily reduce the demand for car parking in the centre. We believe that the supposed benefits of a park and ride would in no way outweigh the damage. Bath should be looking to the future, designing public and active transport that will be accessible to those who do not have cars, enabling those who do to leave them at home.’

Bath is an important focus for services, education and employment for the surrounding rural area and congestion on the rural roads into and around the World Heritage City is a growing problem. It is however, vital that all measures to improve air quality and access are designed to benefit all residents, not just those who already have access to cars.

Bath is an internationally acclaimed World Heritage City, surrounded by protected, designated landscape that is itself also a part of the citation for the World Heritage Site. A scan of Google maps shows how much the peak hours of travel to and from work and education are accompanied by severe congestion. We do not believe a park-and-ride in the Meadows would have replaced the bulk of this traffic.

Any genuine solution to improve access for all, reduce the levels of air pollution in and around the World Heritage Site, and reduce congestion, will have to be part of a planned Bath City and West of England transport strategy, including a number of changes to the existing transport network. This will have to be based upon the recognised hierarchy of transport modes - walking and cycling, bus/tram - if it is to meet the needs of all travellers, and not just car drivers.

There is already much experience to draw on in the UK and farther afield where high quality, well connected public transport is providing benefits to both the environment and the economy.

An investment in an edge of city park-and-ride would not have tackled the longer term issues for congestion, merely delayed the impact of the build-up of traffic on the access roads, as well as creating a major blot on the spectacular World Heritage City landscape.

CPRE welcomes this change of heart from Bath and North East Somerset Council, and looks forward to a constructive and urgent dialogue on the alternative transport strategy for the benefit of all residents.

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