Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

10 Transport and Accessibility

10.1 South Somerset is a predominantly rural District. In our smaller towns and villages 66% of the economically active population travel to work in single occupancy car/van, in Chard 58% travel to work in single occupancy car/van, and in Yeovil the figure reduces to 57% (2001 census). Because of our dispersed pattern of settlements, the car will remain an essential mode of travel, because, in many instances these locations are remote from key services, facilities and employment with subsequent diverse travel patterns.

10.2 The Climate Change Act 2008 requires an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 30% of CO2 emissions in South Somerset are due to transport. ‘Shaping South Somerset’, the South Somerset Sustainable Community Strategy sets out a more ambitious target of a “year on year reduction in carbon footprint towards a carbon neutral economy in 2030” and identifies an action to support the development of an integrated, low carbon transport infrastructure (Strategic Priority 13), as part of a wider goal to achieve low carbon quality services and facilities to include transport & ICT enabling everyone to have fair & equitable access to satisfy their needs.

10.3 Considerable benefits can be delivered by enabling travel by means other than the car. These include improved health from more active travel modes, reductions in carbon emissions arising from transport, enabling Social Inclusion and reducing the impact of congestion. The latter is particularly relevant for Yeovil and Chard in light of highway capacity issues arising from the projected growth.

10.4 Other measures such as home working, encouraging the use of low emission, alternative fuel, electric vehicles, demand responsive public transport and car share schemes should therefore be considered on a scale and degree appropriate to new sites proposed for development.

10.5 The Department of Transport (DfT) guidance “Low Carbon Transport – A Greener Future” cites that the domestic transport sector should contribute to a 16% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 (on 2005 levels). Whilst new technologies will, in time, play an important part in reducing CO2, they are unlikely to be sufficient in isolation and will not address health (particularly in tackling obesity) or congestion issues. The Yeovil Infrastructure Impact Assessment[1] recognises the significant adverse effect on the highway network of additional dwellings in and around Yeovil and whilst this assessment considers the original growth level for Yeovil as 11,400 dwellings, the 8,200 now envisaged is still considered to have a significant impact. Consequently substantial investment in measures to promote sustainable travel will be needed if the alternative of major highway infrastructure investment is to be avoided and the specifics of this will emerge in the County Council’s Future Transport Plan (FTP) and Yeovil Transport Strategy Review 2 (YTSR 2) in time to inform the Publication document for submission to an Inspector.

10.6 There is potential to achieve this in Yeovil through the Eco Towns Urban Village and the Eco-Towns Urban Extension development. District wide, achieving modal shift will be more challenging, although new technologies, improved design, and greater awareness of choice through more robust travel planning will reduce the need to travel and achieve an increase in more sustainable modes where travel is necessary. A reasonable aim for the model shift policy in Chard and Yeovil would therefore be to reduce the number of cars being used for short journeys to local shops and facilities, the town centre and travelling to work and maintain car use at current levels in other towns and villages. For the Eco Town and Urban extension it is a requirement[2] that measures are included to ensure 50% of travel is by sustainable means, with 60% sustainable travel being the eventual goal.

10.7 There has been a significant growth in rail travel in recent years. However this has generally been for longer journeys where shorter journey times compared to the private car are achieved. Infrequent and unsuitable timings for commuting on the Bristol to Weymouth and London (Paddington) to Penzance Line and the actual location of the stations on these and the London (Waterloo) to Exeter line means that achieving modal shift to rail for short journeys will be difficult to achieve. However, there are opportunities to improve sustainable links to rail stations and in particular the Yeovil stations.

1. Yeovil Infrastructure Impact Assessment - Initial Assessment, Final Report, Baker Associates, April 2009 [back]
2. Eco Town Supplement to PPS1; Objective ET11 [back]