Right', published today, urges a fresh commitment locally and
nationally to traffic demand management. It also looks for more
research and funding to deliver real alternatives to the private car
The report draws on research to reduce car dependence undertaken by
the commission working closely with local authority partners in
England. The report underlines the importance of finding publicly
acceptable solutions to traffic growth in the countryside.
'The launch of the report, at today's conference in the Barbican in
London, aims to create a new public and professional awareness of the
need for action on rural traffic,' says the chairman of the
Countryside Commission Richard Simmonds.
The principal projects covered in the report are in Devon, Surrey and
Cumbria, but their findings have widespread application. The projects
demonstrate a new local and national approach to rural traffic demand
management. A major aim is to deliver real alternatives to car use,
while other measures are also essential, such as local speed
restrictions, better parking and greater public transport options.
In the Lake District a strategy for traffic calming was no easy task
to pursue. There were local concerns and controversies. But for the
first time a transport strategy now exists. It provides for traffic
schemes to be agreed and implemented, one by one, learning from each.
A 40 mph speed limit has been introduced on the well used seven-mile
length of B road running from Crook to Windermere and Bowness. Signs
are being altered to encourage more drivers to stay on the A road to
Windermere. A rat-run road at Ambleside has now been turned into an
'access only' road, freeing it for cyclists and walkers. Improved
security measures, including lockable cycle garages, have been
introduced for cyclists and suitable routes for cyclists have been
identified, boosting confidence in this form of travel. Meanwhile
better information has been provided so that visitors can make more
use of public transport.
In Surrey, which has one of the highest levels of car ownership in
the country, the pressures on the countryside have come in the form
of inter-urban movements and commuting. In partnership with the
county council, the commission established the Strategic Traffic
Action in Rural Areas initiative (STAR). Speed limits of 40 mph and
20 mph were introduced in some areas along with traffic gateways to
reduce the speed of motorists in certain parts of the county.
Junction improvements, designs to encourage through traffic to avoid
the village centre and improved car parking arrangements were
negotiated in the village of Shere. Eighty six miles of country roads
have been signed to produce an extensive cycleway for the county and
a bus for schoolchildren in Lingfield has cut the number of car
movements by parents taking children to or from school.
In Dartmoor, where open moorland roads have encouraged high speeds,
40 mph limits have been imposed. The measure is complemented by a
'Drive Moor Carefully' campaign to highlight the special and
sensitive nature of the moor. Signs are being kept to a minimum to
reduce the visual impact on the landscape. Painted roundels on the
road surface have been used where metal roadside signs would have
been out of place. Gateways at some entrances to the park act as a
signal to slow down. And, to prevent congestion and damage to minor
roads, voluntary and mandatory restrictions have been put in place
for large coaches. Use of public transport is being encouraged and
the old Okehampton mineral line has been re-opened for passenger use.
The report draws on these demonstration projects to propose actions
by Government, highway authorities and local communities. The
projects illustrate the real benefits to villages and the countryside
of highway authorities preparing individual local transport
strategies which follow clear environmental standards.
-- Copies of the Commission report 'Rural Traffic: Getting it
Right', CCP515, are available free of charge from the Countryside
Commission Postal Sales, PO Box 124, Walgrave, Northampton NN6 9TL,
(tel 01604 781848).