'Too many developments are getting the go-ahead on greenfield sites and in places which are difficult to reach without a car, causing isolation for those who cannot drive and eroding the beauty of the countryside.'
This is the conclusion of CPRE's new Sprawl Patrol survey published today. Sprawl Patrol highlights over 20 examples of traffic-generating development and calls for action to reduce the growth in sprawl and traffic.
Examples of traffic-generating development are given in each region of the country.
'The Transport White Paper signalled an end to the spread of out-of-town developments and urged people to use the car less and public transport more. But developers are still pushing ahead with damaging schemes and both local and national government are too hesitant in saying no.'
CPRE's Sprawl Patrol shows that this problem is affecting all parts of the country:
- North: Newcastle City Council is proposing one of the largest ever releases of green belt for development, including 2,500 'executive' homes and an 80 hectare business park which will generate over 23,000 daily round-trips by road;
- South: Abingdon in Oxfordshire, the Vale of White Horse DC is supporting plans for an out-of-town multiplex cinema with hundreds of parking spaces, despite a potential cinema site in the town centre;
- East: near Norwich a developer is proposing an out-of-town retail park, petrol station and restaurant on a local area of high landscape quality and beyond the reach of good public transport;
- West: Devon CC is planning a new settlement of over 3,000 new homes on a greenfield site outside Broadclyst. This will act as a 'satellite' development for car commuters to Exeter.
Lilli Matson continued:
'Out-of-town development has fuelled a 40% increase in the length of car journeys in just 10 years. The countryside has borne the brunt of the impact and traffic on rural roads has increased at three times the rate of urban areas as a result. These trends are set to continue unless local and national government get tough on the causes of sprawl and rising traffic.'
CPRE's Sprawl Patrol recommends action by national government, including to:
- take a stand against traffic generating developments and be more ready to take the lead in decisions on schemes which jeopardise its transport aims by issuing a 'call in';
- revamp and strengthen the planning rules for transport and land use - including by establishing national targets for traffic reduction and demanding new development is accessible to those without a car;
- promote urban renewal by extending new parking taxes to cover existing out-of-town shopping and leisure centres;
- break the cycle of car dependency through greater investment in public transport and walking and cycling facilities.
Lilli Matson concluded:
'The Transport White Paper raised expectations that positive change was underway, but too little has changed in practice. Local and national government need to ensure that every day planning decisions affecting where we live and work actually reduce the burden of travelling and create new chances to walk, cycle and use public transport.
'Both urban and rural areas will benefit as a result, with new development breathing life into our cities, less traffic in the countryside, and greater opportunities for people to choose how they travel - wherever they live.'