Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Devon County Council (TYP 30)

  This memorandum from Devon County Council addresses two of the areas that the Transport Sub-Committee has identified that it wishes to explore as part of its inquiry into the 10 Year Plan:

    1.  Implementation

    2.  Targets

  Devon County Council's Executive Committee considered a detailed report on the 10 Year Plan at its meeting on 6 September 2000 and it is available at www.devon.gov.uk/dcc/committee/reports/ed00246hq.html.

1.   IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 10 YEAR PLAN

  The 10 Year Plan is the Government's strategy for modernising the transport network and addressing the consequences of past under-investment. At local level the delivery of the Plan is through Local Transport Plans prepared by local authorities.

  Local Transport Plans set out comprehensive integrated transport strategies together with five-year costed programmes of improvements for which Government funding is sought. Devon County Council is using the funding to deliver a wide range of integrated transport schemes and maintaining principal and non-principal roads. Local transport plans have enabled a more holistic and longer term approach.

  Improving the availability, access and use of public transport in both rural and urban areas is a priority identified by both the Government in the 10 Year Plan and County Council in its Local Transport Plan. The County Council's view is that consistent and long-term support from Government for urban and rural bus services is vital to provide higher quality services at affordable fares. Government support for rural services, through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant is currently set only until 2004 with no indication, at present, whether it will be continued. The Grant, which is limited to bus services, should be extended to all forms of rural public transport. The Countryside Agency budget is set in the same way with a cut-off at 2004 and this is particularly challenging for community based transport schemes.

  There is a need to update the Transport Act 1985 particularly with regard to the rules governing the registration of local bus services in order to provide more protection for bus users from change of services by operators and also for the new flexible/ bookable services in rural areas. Section 19 and section 22 regarding community transport should also be changed to allow community operators to run local bus services with paid drivers. This is an area that the Government has promised to tackle but there is little indication that concrete progress is being made.

  The County Council has developed a number of aspirations for future rail services within and to/from Devon, including an hourly clockface timetable on the Exeter-Barnstaple line, increased capacity on the Exeter-Exmouth line, hourly service to London Waterloo and a local service to Honiton. Linked to this are a series of high priority line capacity and station improvements. Improved and reliable rail services, including better rolling stock and enhanced capacity at Reading Station are vital to allow more frequent services from London to the West Country.

  The implementation of the 10 Year Plan will partly be a reflection of progress with infrastructure of regional significance. In that context, the County Council considers that the dualling of the A30/A303 trunk road in East Devon is vital in order to provide an alternative high quality route for long-distance road travel to London, the south of England and the Channel Tunnel.

2.  10 YEAR PLAN TARGETS

  Local authorities are responsible for the achievement of some of the outcomes and targets identified in the 10 Year Plan.

  The target to "provide sufficient resources to local authorities to halt the deterioration in the condition of local roads by 2004 and to eliminate the backlog by the end of the Plan period" will require sustained and long-term investment by Government. The County Council considers that Government should adopt a positive approach to providing additional finance to local authorities for road maintenance where it is identified as a priority by local authorities in their Local Public Service Agreements as a reward for enhanced performance.

  The target to triple the number of cycle trips by 2010 compared with a 2000 base could usefully be sub-divided into separate targets for increases in trips for different purposes: eg work, school, shopping and leisure. This would enable a clearer demonstration of the outcomes of local transport plans.



 
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