Papers released this week, as part of the agenda to the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee meeting scheduled for 28 June 2018, include the report ‘Update on Sustainable Transport Strategy‘ and three associate appendices (one of which, Appendix B, provides details of progress on the borough’s Cycling Strategy).
The report provides the third annual update on the borough’s Sustainable Transport Strategy (June 2015), and incorporates the second annual review to the the borough’s Cycling Strategy (November 2015). Both of these documents are also available form our Publications page).
The STS report does not make for particularly compelling reading, especially given that many of the targets have not been met and no explanation is given. With all the previous, well-meaning, similar strategies and policy documents that have been produced over the years, you could well ask, what is different this time? One thing that is different, is that the date of delivery for the short-term targets is now 2020 instead of 2017 “in order to reflect the existing situation” (i.e target not yet achieved).
Some highlights, and low-lights, are given in the graphic below. A report on the equivalent documents published twelve months ago in June 2017, can be found as part of our Notes from our July 2017 meeting (sections 5 and 6).
As we struggle with the realisation that the proportion of trips made by Sutton’s residents by cycle remains at 2% (the noise floor), the same proportion, in fact, as twenty-eight years ago in 1991 (Sustainable Transport Strategy, LBS, March 1989), there is perhaps some comfort in knowing that the target for 2025 is to remain at 4% (for the time-being at least) . In other words, the cycling rate has to double in the next seven years. That is something that our councillors elected in May this year need to take on board. Because things are going to have to move forward pretty quickly during their four-year term if there is any hope of achieving the 4% target by 2025 (failing any externalities like an oil crisis of course).
Given that the over half of all council staff do not now travel to work by “sustainable modes” (in other words they drive, and probably as single occupancy), it is perhaps worth reflecting on a target that is referred to in the Sutton Transport Plan (LIP) (LBS, July 2011): ‘One Planet Living’ Action Plan: “Less than 10% of council staff to commute as the single occupant of cars by 2017 (from a baseline of 46% in 2009)”.
It really is time to bring on Liveable Neighbourhoods. Here’s to the next Transport Strategy, sustainable or otherwise.