Journey to Net Zero: Reducing the environmental impact of transport in Bath (the plan) is a strategic overview of the policies and projects we are pursuing, to deliver more sustainable transport choices for the people of B&NES.
Use these pages to help you to understand and respond to the content of the report, and take part in our consultation on future projects addressing this critical issue.
The council policy context
We declared a Climate Emergency in March 2019, and an Ecological Emergency in July 2019, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality (or 'net zero') in our area by 2030. Our overarching strategic plan, the B&NES Council Corporate Strategy, sets out our two core policies to improve the lives of local people: Tackling the Climate Emergency, and Giving people a bigger say.
Tackling the Climate Emergency
Transport accounts for 29% of our region's carbon emissions, and is therefore an important part of our efforts to achieve this goal.
We need to act fast to reduce transport emissions in our area. We aim to do this with a major shift to public transport, walking and travel by bike. In order to reach our target, there are a number of different possible pathways; one example scenario could be as follows:
- Reducing vehicle mileage by 25% per person
- Reducing petrol and diesel-powered vehicles to just 10% of those on the roads
Enabling more active modes of travel, such as travel by foot or bike, can also dramatically affect public health, reducing levels of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and improving mental health. We know that disadvantaged areas tend to have more main roads, leading to poorer air quality, higher noise levels and higher accident rates, making health inequalities worse.
Transport policy therefore offers a great opportunity to contribute to better health, wellbeing, safety and security, and to improve health inequalities, for those who live, work and travel in B&NES.
Giving people a bigger say
We are working with the ideas, suggestions and needs of local people at every stage of the development of this policy document. This period of public consultation gives you an opportunity to contribute to the conversation, by responding to our future projects in development, and shaping how we will deliver transport policy aims.
The strategies and projects in the document also help underpin the three guiding principles set out in the Corporate Strategy:
- Preparing for the future: by enabling a major transport shift to walking, micro-mobility, cycling, car-sharing, buses and rail
- Delivering for local residents: by facilitating significant improvements to the transport infrastructure and encouraging behaviour change to forms of transport other than the car, along with introducing Liveable Neighbourhoods, working together with schools and local communities
- Focusing on prevention: by prioritising preventative approaches, so that people can stay healthy, supporting our residents to live well and independently and promoting good health and the reduction of health inequalities
Regional collaboration and wider policy context
Regional transport delivery planning
In 2020, the Combined Authority released the Joint Local Transport Plan 4 (JLTP4) to set the vision for transport in the region to 2036. JLTP4 recognises the challenges faced by our region, in terms of growth in travel demand and the increased need to improve the offer of more sustainable modes of transport as well as climate challenges. JLTP4 remains the umbrella document for regional policy and is the source of the region’s transport major scheme list. We have included relevant schemes from JLTP4 within our Journey to net zero plan.
Measuring carbon reduction impact
Our plan recommends transport-related projects that are likely to deliver a carbon emissions reduction. As the projects identified in this plan develop further, we will consider their impact on reducing carbon in more detail. We will continue to work with the West of England Combined Authority (the Combined Authority) to develop more advanced techniques for recording and monitoring the impacts of our transport projects, to allow us to measure performance against emission targets.
The transport policy context
Last year, we held a consultation on our outline transport policy themes, the Transport Delivery Action Plan for Bath. This gave you an opportunity to feed back on how important different aspects of transport policy were to you. The consultation results informed our initial thinking for the development of the plan and the future schemes we are exploring.
We have developed this policy document in line with the evidence we gathered in the Transport Delivery Action Plan for Bath, and follows on from the Getting Around Bath Transport Strategy. As a consequence, whilst the Journey to Net Zero is primarily focused on transport within Bath, work is currently underway at a regional level, to develop a detailed transport de-carbonisation plan that covers all of the West of England region, including North East Somerset. This will focus on how the district outside of Bath can respond to the Climate Emergency, with a particular focus on rural transport.
View the feedback report from our initial consultation
Since our previous consultation, we have renamed this project, to better reflect the importance and urgency we place on the Climate Emergency declaration. Moving forward, the project is named Journey to Net Zero: Reducing the environmental impact of transport in Bath, to demonstrate our continued commitment to reducing the carbon emissions from transport and delivering sustainable travel options by 2030.
The Journey to Net Zero report includes partnership projects which fall under the responsibility of other, larger bodies (such as National Highways and the West of England Combined Authority). Where projects are not within our gift to implement ourselves, we will continue to work alongside the agencies and transport operators responsible for their delivery, to secure the outcomes and improvements we need.
The unique context of Bath
The Journey to net zero plan recognises the many factors which are unique to Bath, and will play an important role in planning transport policy. These include the following:
- World heritage site status, and the huge number of listed buildings and structures
- The city's ancient road network, which includes heritage assets such as Cleveland Bridge, many of which were not designed to manage modern traffic size or volumes
- Heavy economic dependence on tourism
- The geographic setting of the city (particularly its waterways and hills)
The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic
During the development of the plan, the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant societal impact on the way we travel, live and work. The experience of the pandemic shows that under certain conditions, people’s travel behaviour can change rapidly. The long-term impacts of the pandemic on travel are unknown, so the data and analysis presented and discussed in our report is pre-pandemic. Monitoring data that we have collected recently shows that traffic levels are nearing 90% of pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that the need for sustainable transport remains.
Related public consultations
As well as inviting comments to shape this plan and future projects within it, we are holding a wider programme of public consultations on schemes and policy focused on a variety of transport-related issues and specific areas of our region.