William Eichler 24 October 2018

‘Deep flaws’ in planning system driving car-dependency

‘Deep flaws’ in planning system driving car-dependency image

There are ‘deep flaws’ in the planning system which are leaving new housing developments without adequate walking, cycling and public transport connections, transport organisation warns.

A report by Transport for New Homes says residents are being forced into ‘car-dependency’ because the planning system is not ensuring new developments can be accessed using alternative forms of transport.

The report shows that transport infrastructure investment is dominated by added road capacity while bus infrastructure is rarely given sufficient funding.

Barely any new stations are being built to serve new housing, Transport for New Homes found. There are also inadequate pedestrian and cycle links to and from the new homes.

‘We were appalled to find so many new housing developments that were built around the car with residents driving for almost every journey. This is bad news for congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions,’ said Jenny Raggett, researcher at Transport for New Homes.

‘Many urban extensions on the edges of towns are being built with new road capacity to cope with the onslaught of new car journeys, but as those cars head for our towns and cities they clog up existing roads. Commuter times get longer and longer. Car-based living of this kind is not good for our health or quality of life. 

‘We are building in the wrong places, building developments around bypasses, link roads and distributor roads rather than walkable streets. We need a new model of development whereby new homes are built around sustainable modes rather than the car.’

Responding to the report, Cllr Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: 'Councils have already introduced several measures to tackle air pollution, such as encouraging the use of electric vehicles with recharging points, promoting cycling, investing in cleaner buses, managing borough-wide air pollution monitoring networks, and pioneering the concept of low-emission zones.

'Councils are determined to do more in planning for new places in ways that improve air quality and promote more sustainable forms of travel but a lack of funding is a clear barrier to such investment.'

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