Q6. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the Kent-Wide Priorities for the Local Transport Plan? (Pages 22 to 23 in the LTP)
- Road Safety
Under the Road Traffic Act 1989, KCC has a duty to promote road safety and act to reduce the likelihood of road casualties occurring. We also have a moral and financial imperative to do this. Our target is to reduce the number of killed and seriously injured (KSI) by 33% and child KSI by 40% (2014 to 2020). One means of addressing this is through the Crash Remedial Measures (CRM) Programme which targets safety critical schemes. These are locations where there is a statistically higher than expected number of KSI casualties. At least 50% of the Integrated Transport block funding is top sliced for CRM schemes, for which the programme can be found in annexe 3 to this LTP4. Therefore, at least 50% of transport scheme funding is prioritised for Outcome 3: Safer travel.
In addition to this, we carry out a number of educational and enforcement activities, including working with partners in the Safer Roads Partnership. More information on this can be found in the Road Casualty Reduction Strategy. Further, through the highway maintenance programme every road and footway in the county is inspected and repairs carried out where necessary.
- Highway Maintenance and Asset Management
One of KCC’s primary roles is to maintain the structural integrity of the public highway, which includes targeting potholes for repair, both to ensure safe travel and prolong the life of assets. The Department for Transport (DfT) allocates Highway Maintenance Block funding based on the size of our roads, bridges, and street lighting assets as a proportion of the total asset size in England. From 2018/19 the cycleway and footway network will also be included in the calculation. To make the best use of this, and to support bids for additional central Government funding, we will implement the asset management approach advocated by the Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) .
KCC Highways needs to review the method of assessment as to what constitutes road surface deterioration that warrants repair. Whilst we acknowledge the clarity that a dimensional approach to assessing damage brings, we consider that damage that falls outside of the dimensional definition can create unacceptable increase in risk of an accident.
- Home to School Transport
High quality education is a priority, and where transport to school is a barrier we aim to get pupils to school safely and on time. This can take the form of advice or the provision of free or subsidised transport where the child is eligible under Section 509 of the Education Act 1996. The criteria for free transport can be found in the Home to School Transport Policy. We also offer the Young Person’s Travel Pass and this has been instrumental in encouraging school journeys to be made by bus.
The Council should promote selection of local schools and active travel solutions for journeys to and from school.
- Active Travel
We aim to make active travel an attractive and realistic choice for short journeys in Kent. Active travel means walking or cycling as a means of transport rather than for leisure purposes, and it can benefit health and wellbeing by incorporating physical activity into everyday routine as well as reduce the number of vehicles on the road and improve air quality. By integrating active travel into planning, providing and maintaining appropriate routes for walking and cycling, and supporting people through training and building skills, we plan to establish Kent as a pioneering county for active travel. More information can be found in the Active Travel Strategy.
‘Facing the Aviation Challenge’ clearly sets out our position on aviation. This centres on maximising use of existing regional airport capacity, along with some expansion of existing airports and improved rail connections. At the present time, no viable business proposition for aviation at Manston Airport has come forward but Lydd Airport plans to extend its runway and expand its terminal.
We are clear that processes are needed to properly measure, minimise and mitigate the noise impacts of existing airport operations and airport expansion. We, along with Medway Council, are robustly opposed to the proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary. We are also opposed to a second runway at Gatwick; one of the reasons for this is the doubling of the already unacceptable noise impacts. There needs to be an immediate reduction in overflight and noise in West Kent and so we oppose proposed airspace changes that would not share the burden of overflight equitably between communities. Multiple arrival and departure routes should be used to provide periods of respite. Additionally, the level of night flights should be reduced at Gatwick to a level comparable with Heathrow.
As part of our view on long-term aviation capacity issues, we are pressing Government for immediate action to keep UK airports competitive with European airports in terms of Air Passenger Duty (APD). This currently has a negative impact on the UK’s global connectivity and is therefore damaging UK business and tourism. Differential charging of APD at uncongested airports could also help to stimulate growth at regional airports and free up capacity at congested airports.
Q6a. Please add any comments on the Kent-Wide Priorities for the Local Transport Plan below: