Tonbridge & Malling Green Party's response to Kent Council's Local Transport Plan 'Growth without Gridlock'

30 October 2016

Tonbridge & Malling Green Party has responded to Kent County Council's draft Local Transport Plan - 'Growth without Gridlock. We take issue with the idea that you can build your way out of congestion using the discredited “predict and provide” methodology.

We believe Government should focus on removing HGVs and LGVs from Kent’s roads and reducing traffic volumes as a whole.

In Kent, where development is necessary, brownfield and smaller infill sites should be prioritised and the ability of transport and other infrastructure to cope with additional demand must always be considered.

We support four of the five “outcomes for transport” identified in the report, namely: Affordable and accessible door-to-door journeys; Safer travel; Enhanced environment and Better health and wellbeing. However, these outcomes may well be incompatible with the fifth, to “deliver resilient transport infrastructure ... to enable economic growth and appropriate development, meeting demand from a growing population.”

We do not agree that in assessing and funding local transport schemes, the economic growth/congestion outcome should receive almost three times the weighting of any other objective ie 40% versus 15%.

We support in particular the aim to move more freight from road to rail.

Tonbridge & Malling Green Party objects to the plans for a new Lower Thames Crossing on environmental grounds. A new crossing will undoubtedly increase road traffic with a consequent rise in air pollution – both CO2 and particulates.

We consider a lorry park and in particular the proposal for one at the Stanford site to be a costly and flawed proposal. As our KCC member Martin Whybrow, and South-East MEP Keith Taylor, have set out, the site is far too large, on prime agricultural land, will blight a number of local communities and result in poor air quality, noise pollution and potential flooding.

We support action to make public transport a more affordable and attractive proposition. The identified action is to “promote initiatives to encourage greater use of public transport” but no detail is provided. Our suggestions include increased services, especially in the evenings; cheaper fares to make bus travel preferable to car; Wi-Fi on all buses.

We support all efforts to make Kent’s roads safer and to reduce the number of casualties.

It is disappointing to see the relatively low emphasis on other modes of travel in the document. Active travel, particularly cycling, will require much better focus and greater investment. It only takes one weak link in the network, for example a break in a cycleway, to deter people from using it.

The quality of Kent’s roads, particularly rural lanes, will need to be much improved if cycling take-up is to increase. We would like to see much wider adoption of 20mph limits in residential areas and on rural lanes.

We support KCC’s opposition to both the expansion of Gatwick and an estuary airport. We also support its position on flight paths and night flights.

Click here to read the full response