Bath & North East Somerset Council’s new Cabinet Member for Transport, Conservative Councillor Mark Shelford, has set out his vision for improving transport and air quality in Bath.
Cllr Shelford has said that at the heart of his transport vision is the need to reduce the impact of cars on the city and promote sustainable transport options that ease congestion and tackle pollution.
As part of this vision, Cllr Shelford has said the city needs to have a debate about innovative ideas that can reduce car volumes and discourage the most polluting vehicles, including HGVs, from entering and passing through the city.
The key objectives Cllr Shelford has set out within his transport vision for Bath are:
- Improving Bath’s air quality
- Greater pedestrian-priority in the city centre
- Minimising traffic passing through the city
- A popular Mass Public Transport system
- Increasing cycle and pedestrian commuter and recreational traffic
- Encouraging maximum use of Clean/Ultra Clean Vehicles
- Encouraging tourists to use public transport when visiting the city
To achieve these objectives, Cllr Shelford is proposing to build upon the Council’s existing Transport Strategy engaging with the community over policy ideas such as:
- Securing investment in more attractive public transport alternatives – such as a tram/light rail system, for which the Council recently commissioned a feasibility study, as well as regional projects such as the MetroWest rail network.
- Establishing an updated Air Quality Action Plan for Bath that seeks to reduce levels of air pollution in the city, particularly on key traffic corridors identified as Air Quality Management Areas.
- Increasing use of the city’s Park & Rides by improving road access, such as the junction of Freezing Hill Lane and Togg Hill and the approach to Odd Down Park & Ride.
- Providing the infrastructure needed to reduce the number of vehicles passing through the city and a new location for coaches to park outside the city.
- Creating more dedicated cycleways and improving safety for walkers and cyclists through measures such as improved lighting.
- Looking at ways to reduce school-run traffic, such as investment in safe walking and cycling routes.
Cllr Mark Shelford (Cons, Lyncombe) said:
“My transport vision for Bath builds upon the Council’s existing Transport Strategy and links in with the work the Council is currently undertaking on a new Air Quality Action Plan.
“At the heart of this vision is an ambition to make Bath a city where it is quicker, cleaner and easier to get from A to B, with a transport system that supports our local economy, enhances Bath’s status as a World Heritage Site and reduces levels of air pollution.
“To achieve this, some major policy decisions will need to be taken about how to reduce the impact of cars on the city and improve our air quality. This includes working at a regional level to deliver the infrastructure needed to reduce the number of vehicles driving into and through our city. But it will also require measures that promote sustainable transport, provide attractive public transport options, and encourage the use of low and zero-emission vehicles.
“The Council is already working on a new parking strategy, air quality action plan, and looking at innovate ideas such as a light-rail system, but we need to bring these different strands together into an overarching transport vision for our city. That why I wanted to start a debate about the type of measures that could be introduced, and I am keen to hear what residents think and listen to any ideas people have which could help us address the transport challenges facing our city.”