Monday, 1 November 1999

Lower Don Valley Transport News

A lot is happening or, more precisely, a lot is being talked about.  The job of the East End Strategy Group, of which Sheffield FoE is a member, is to co-ordinate the various initiatives, studies etc.  If the amount of consultants employed was the sole criterion of success, we’d have cracked it already. Things going on are:

Quality of Life Project 
Health Action Zone funded to actively involve the community in a sustainable development policy framework in the Lower Don Valley (LDV).  Neil Parry, who’s done an excellent job in the Community Health and Transport Project, has got the Development Worker job.  FoE are on the steering group for this project which is led by Sheffield Health.

Tinsley Environmental Action Plan.
Intended to act upon information gained through the Tinsley Environmental Audit; quantified targets for action such as traffic management/ reduction, noise reduction, better local facilities.  Managed by Sheffield Health and the Council’s Environmental Protection Service (EPS).

East End Development Strategy.
Intended to produce local guidance for Planners when assessing development proposals in the LDV.  First major step is a study of potential development land in the Sheffield and Rotherham motorway corridor areas: what the land could be used for and what the traffic implications would be.  It depends on European funding to pay a consultant.  Planners currently assess each planning application in isolation and have claimed success when restricting the number of car parking spaces for one recent development!

Noise Reduction on the M1.
One of many other traffic studies (which is keeping the consultants happy) is what can be done by the Highways Agency to reduce M1 noise in Tinsley and Brinsworth.  Plastic screens along the sides of the road and quieter road surfacings plus other measures have been suggested.  But, although the area is a deserving case, it’s competing with lots of other deserving cases around the country for the £5M available in each of the next few years.  Short term stuff this, of course; what is needed is national traffic reduction.
 
Air Action Project.
European funded with a member of staff working from EPS; shares best quality practice with 3 other European cities.  The MI corridor (plus the City Centre and, maybe, Penistone Road), is likely to fail Air Quality targets set by the Government.  This should mean the Council has to set up an Air Quality Management Area to take action to rectify the situation.  But the Government seems to be relaxing the targets so look out for a fudge.

Local Transport Plan/ Centre of Excellence.The LDV has several Centre of Excellence projects supposed to implement measures commensurate with John Prescott’s Integrated Transport Policy.  Information gone quiet recently and we don’t know what measures have been included in the Local Transport Plan for the next financial year.  The LTP is a bid for Government funds by the 4 South Yorkshire Councils and the Passenger Transport Executive, to improve transportation in the area.  Apart from continuation of our glorious Inner Ring Road, it’s all public transport, pedestrian facilities, cycle lanes etc.  C of Ex projects include a LDV Employers Forum aimed at getting them to implement Green Transport Plans (staff, visitors and customers using transport other than cars) and a Sheffield - Rotherham bus rapid transit system through Templeborough, Meadowhall and Attercliffe.  Led by the Council’s Strategic Planning and Transportation Service.

Tinsley Community Health and Transport Project.2 year project, ending in November 1999, examining the relationship between health and transport; working in the community and with policy makers/ developers.  Produced good, local evidence of air pollution, raised awareness in the local community, started planting thousands of trees along the M1. 

Don’t forget, if you want to set yourself up for life, get yourself a BMW and several mobile phones, look very busy all the time and call yourself a consultant.