Getting Wiltshire Moving
Our over-riding strategy for transportation in Wiltshire will be based around three core principles:
- It will provide Choice. Over 70% of all journeys to work in Wiltshire are by car. We will seek to provide viable alternatives for residents and employers.
- It will be Greener. We will seek to decarbonise transport in Wiltshire, in line with the Council’s commitment on the Climate Emergency to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030.
· Work with local communities and bus operators to improve rural bus services.
· Where commercial bus services are not viable, we’ll innovate to provide demand-responsive and community-based alternatives.
· Extend the network of cycle routes within the county.
· Establish a network of Electric Vehicle charging points throughout the county.
· Prioritise funding away from new highway projects and into public transport.
· Invest in road safety improvement schemes to improve accident rates.
· Extend the implementation of 20mph zones in residential areas.
· Increase resourcing for road safety education.
· Prioritise preventative maintenance over inefficient and reactive pothole repairs.
- It will be Safer. For decades, road casualties had been consistently falling, but there has been no improvement in Wiltshire since 2010. We will deliver improvements in road safety to restore the long-term trend in improving accident rates.
Labour will seek to extend and improve public transport in Wiltshire so that it offers a real alternative to car use. There are many challenges involved in making bus services economically viable in rural areas, but other councils have shown that - by taking innovative approaches in conjunction with local communities and commercial bus operators, and by working with new technologies - these can be made a success.
- Work closely with local communities through town and parish councils to understand demand for new or more frequent bus services.
- Collaborate with town and parish councils to raise additional funding to subsidise rural bus services through the town/parish council precepts.
- Work with commercial bus operators to establish new routes to meet demand through both regular and demand-responsive services.
- Provide a Wiltshire Council IT platform with mobile phone App to allow residents a simple one-stop service for finding bus routes, getting real-time information on bus movements, and booking demand-responsive services.
- Work with local communities to develop Community Transport options where commercial services are not viable.
- Take innovative approaches to open up school bus services to fare-paying passengers where possible.
- Re-invigorate Wiltshire Council’s car-sharing scheme to increase up-take and ease rush-hour congestion.
We will extend the network of cycle routes within Wiltshire. We will do this through a range of solutions including the creation of new cycle lanes, way-marking routes along minor roads, and providing dedicated cycle tracks. As well as helping to make cycling a healthier and sustainable alternative to car travel, this will support our plans to encourage active tourism to boost the Wiltshire economy.
- Ensure that all Wiltshire’s market towns have a cycle network development plan.
- Develop cycle routes to link our market towns with each other, and also develop cycle routes to link villages with each other and connect them to their nearest town.
- Work with other partners, such as Sustrans, to develop the national cycle network within Wiltshire.
- Ensure that all town centres have generous provision for cycle parking.
The transition to electric vehicles will be a key element of decarbonising transport. Whilst the range of electric cars is increasing, and prices are starting to come down, take-up is hampered by a lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Local authorities have an important role to play in addressing this limitation.
- Labour will establish a network of Electric Vehicle Charging points throughout the county, starting with town and village car parks, and then extending to on-street parking points. We will do this by securing funding from government sources, such as the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, and establishing a partnership with an electric infrastructure provider, either through an “Own and Operate” model or through a shared revenue model, whichever offers best value.
- We’ll work with commercial bus operators that run subsidised routes in the county to establish a realistic timetable for replacing diesel buses with low emission vehicles.
Too much national funding is concentrated on major road improvement projects, which increase traffic flows and move congestion elsewhere. We will:
- Oppose major new highway improvement projects, such as the proposed £75M Chippenham Distributer Road, which will have a significant environmental impact and is likely to result in increasing congestion in towns like Calne.
- Lobby central government to switch funding from new road schemes and into public transport subsidies.
- Concentrate Wiltshire Council highways investment on pragmatic local schemes to address road safety issues or resolve localised traffic congestion and air quality issues by improving traffic flow.
We also need to make our streets more friendly for pedestrians. We will invest in pavement repairs, development of pedestrian routes and pedestrian-friendly town centres.
Labour supports the increased use of rail both for passengers and freight. We know when railway stations are re-opened people use them. Labour will work with Town and Parish Councils, and the communities they serve, to identify possible new railway stations. We welcome the feasibility studies into the re-opening of Wilton and Corsham railway stations and support the proposal for a rail link and railway station in Devizes.
Improving Road Safety
Following years of improving performance, road traffic accident casualty figures in Wiltshire have shown no improvement since 2010. In 2018, 228 people were killed or seriously injured on Wiltshire’s roads.
We will take action to improve road safety by:
- Investing in road safety improvement schemes, informed by local data and evidence
- Prioritising improvements around high risk groups and areas, planned and delivered in consultation with local people and other agencies such as the police.
- Introducing 20mph speed limits around all schools in the county and ensure that they are provided with safe pedestrian crossing points.
- Extending the implementation of 20mph zones in residential areas in consultation with local communities.
- Support Community Speed watch Groups and coordinate enforcement with Wiltshire Police.
- Increasing resourcing of road safety education, training and publicity.
Currently, 40% of the local road network in England is classified as being in Amber or Red Condition. We will support the recommendations of the House of Commons Transport Committee for a national investment fund to bring the local road network back to a steady state where preventative maintenance can be effectively undertaken, rather than inefficient and reactive pothole repairs.