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Major Updates

The way transport needs to develop across the West of England to tackle congestion and climate change will be discussed over the coming weeks.

The Joint Local Transport Plan 4 (JLTP4) – led by the West of England Combined Authority, working with Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils – sets out the vision for transport up to 2036. It shows how they aim to achieve a well-connected sustainable transport network that works for residents across the region; a network that offers greater, realistic travel choices and makes walking, cycling and public transport the natural way to travel.

This latest JLTP builds on a draft published and consulted on in 2019, receiving around 4,200 responses over the course of six weeks.

It will be discussed at the following meetings:

  • North Somerset Council’s Executive on Wednesday 5 February and Full Council on Tuesday 18 February,
  • South Gloucestershire Council on 12 February,
  • Bristol City Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 3 March.
  • Bath and North East Somerset Council will make a single member decision

Final adoption will be considered by the West of England Joint Committee when it meets at Kingswood Civic Centre at 12.30pm on Friday 20 March.

Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said: “To keep our region’s economy moving, reduce our carbon emissions and improve air quality we need a better, reliable and sustainable transport network. I’ve been making the case for this since I was elected Mayor and while we’re making progress, particularly on improving our railways, we still face challenges ahead. Thanks to the thousands of people who took the time to give us their views, our regional plan to meet our challenges will now be stronger.

“As West of England Mayor, I’m ambitious for our region, bringing partners together to improve transport on whole region basis, because people’s journeys don’t stop at council boundaries. The West of England Combined Authority is already investing millions in bus and train travel, and walking and cycling routes, to tackle congestion and improve air quality. Our longer-term transport plans will take time to develop and build – it’s important that we don’t just focus on quick fixes because we need sustainable solutions that will work into the future. We’ve got to find new ways of doing things, and we’re working on a new and ambitious mass transport system that will revolutionise the way we move people around the West of England, dramatically improving congestion and air quality while reducing our carbon emissions.”

Councillor Joanna Wright, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Joint Cabinet Member for Transport Services said: “Responding to the Climate Emergency requires action across all aspects of society.  With transport accounting for 34% of all carbon emissions in Bath and North East Somerset, our biggest opportunity to transform the way people travel and address the very real climate emergency is to reallocate road space to sustainable transport modes.  We are committed to and actively pursuing mass transit (buses, trams, light rail, light rapid transit, tram/train) from Bristol to Bath as one of our transformational infrastructure projects as well as a mass transit network within Bath city centre itself.  The JLTP4 also includes low traffic neighbourhoods, and encourages more walking and cycling to transform the low carbon travel choices around our UNESCO World Heritage city, as well as public realm improvement schemes in Keynsham and Midsomer Norton.

“The JLTP4 includes a South East Bristol orbital corridor to address a lack of connectivity but it does not commit us to any particular scheme or alignments.  Considerable further work in consultation with the communities on how we go about addressing this challenge will be essential to progressing this South East Bristol orbital corridor. While the JLTP4 addresses many issues it only takes us takes us so far and we now need to work towards the JLTP5.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We know the impacts of the housing crisis, population growth and the climate emergency demand immediate changes to the way we all work together. Effective collaboration and joint working, as we are showing in Bristol with the One City approach, is critical to successfully remove the obstacles connecting people with each other and economic opportunity. This plan is designed to help us make real progress in transforming the way we travel so it’s more efficient, sustainable and inclusive. It also sets out our ambitions for transport in the Bristol city region in the form of a rapid mass transit system and improving partnerships with bus operators.”

Cllr Don Davies, Leader of North Somerset Council, said: “This plan is a great start in achieving North Somerset Council’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2030. Working across our region’s borders allows us to be more ambitious in our aims to enable a low carbon transport network, including prioritising and improving bus travel and walking and cycling wherever possible. These are key to enhancing connectivity and reducing carbon emissions, making sure we get people moving by using our transport spaces more efficiently and supporting growth.”

Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “The way in which we move, within and beyond the West of England region, plays an important role in improving on our health and wellbeing, our communities, the environment and the economy. The Joint Local Transport Plan sets out our plans for a step change in providing for alternative more efficient, convenient means of travel and particularly start to respond to the challenges faced by the climate emergency.”

The West of England Joint Committee is the decision-making body for issues relating to the West of England Combined Authority, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils, and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Committee will be asked to adopt the Joint Local Transport Plan 4.

A report on the draft Joint Local Transport Plan 4 consultation has been published on www.travelwest.info/JLTP (direct link to the document here).

Press release by WECA.

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