Bath & North East Somerset Council’s new Cabinet Member for Transport, Conservative Councillor Mark Shelford (Lyncombe), has set out an updated vision for how Bath's transport, traffic and air quality can be improved.
Cllr Shelford said that it is vital to reduce the impact of motor vehicles on the city - specifically the most-polluting, including HGVs, simply passing through Bath - and promote sustainable transport options that ease congestion and tackle air pollution.
The Lyncombe councillor also called on the city to have a grown-up debate about innovative ideas, such as a light rail/modern tram network.
The key objectives set out are:
- improving Bath’s air quality
- giving greater pedestrian-priority in the city centre
- minimising road traffic passing through the city
- thoroughly investigating a Mass Public Transport system, such as a modern tram system
- increasing cycle and pedestrian commuter and recreational traffic
- encouraging maximum use of clean/ultra clean vehicles (such as hybrids and electric)
- encouraging tourists to use public transport when visiting the city
To achieve these, Cllr Shelford said he will be working with Council officials and others in regional and national government on:
- securing investment in more attractive public transport alternatives – such as a tram/light rail system
- establishing an updated air quality action plan for Bath to reduce levels of air pollution in the city
- increasing use of the city’s Park & Rides by improving road access
- providing updated infrastructure 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
- consider further ways to reduce school-run traffic, such as investment in safe walking and cycling routes.
Cllr Shelford said his plans build on the work on traffic and air quality the Council is undertaking, and are vital to protect the City's growing prosperity, and heritage buildings:
“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."