Integrated Transport Consultation - Sheffield FoE's Response
As you may be aware, late last year, the Government invited various groups and individuals to contribute ideas on how the Government could develop policies to achieve an integrated transport system. Not surprisingly the road and car lobby suggested building more roads and other policies to increase traffic levels but fortunately Friends of the Earth submitted a 61 page document with lots of sensible solutions such as developing local community car hire schemes so that people who need to use a car infrequently are saved from having to buy one.
Our response was an 8 page letter coving most of the issues raised by national FoE but obviously in less detail. Some of our solutions are listed below:
- Instead of several different bus companies arriving at the same time we suggested that some form of regulation is required to spread them out which would increase the frequency of the service without requiring extra buses.
- To deter motorists from abandoning the City Centre and other areas in favour of out-of-town sites we proposed that free parking should be abolished. Exceptions would be for people with disabilities.
- To further our campaign for better public transport information our contribution looked at this issue in some depth with suggestions of more electronic information.
- Many taxation solutions were explained such as a tax on car advertisements to fund better alternatives and creating a public transport tax which would give the motorist free use of public transport. Not only would this raise urgently needed money but would give motorists a real incentive to use public transport.
- We recommended that passes should not be for a particular operator but must allow access to all buses, trains and trams in the local area.
- As Liz rightly mentioned at conference, the land use planning system must be changed to minimise the impact of traffic. This might include building more homes in urban areas rather than in the countryside and keeping local schools opened rather than forcing children to travel miles in their parents’ car.
Sheffield Friends of the Earth are still attending the cycle forum meetings to pass on the views of cyclists to the Council. Likewise, Rebecca has been forwarding the views of pedestrians at the pedestrian forum. We have tried to organise further meetings with the Passenger Transport Executive to discuss ways of improving public transport but have all been cancelled for one reason or another.
Several members of our group also met up with Council members and other transport experts at Sheffield Hallam University to discuss how Sheffield should spend its allocation of money the Government gives us.
Although we thought road building was nearly a thing of the past, unfortunately there might be a scheme to build a large road through the Don Valley. We are watching this at the moment and will act on it if anything happens.
Transport meetings are continuing at the Banker's Draft pub.