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Camilla Swiderska dicusses Sustainable Solutions in Hampshire

PUBLISHED: 17:27 22 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:52 20 February 2013

Camilla Swiderska dicusses Sustainable Solutions in Hampshire

Camilla Swiderska dicusses Sustainable Solutions in Hampshire

Known as the voice of the countryside, CPRE Hampshire are here to fight for our green space. This month Camilla Swiderska discusses the need for a more sustainable form of transport for our rural communities.










Known as the voice of the countryside, CPRE Hampshire are here to fight for our green space. This month Camilla Swiderska discusses the need for a more sustainable form of transport for our rural communities.


Have you ever seen a large bus come through your village with only one or two people on it? Why have rural communities taken a back seat on national transport policy and is rural transport such a challenge to policy makers? In recent years the Department for Transport has promoted electric cars and biofuels instead of behavioural change initiatives. The myth is that its more cost-effective to implement changes in urban areas, purely because of lack of evidence of successful behavioral change initiatives in rural areas. What can be done about this?


We hear from Government of large projects to improve UK links, like High Speed Rail 2, but the people who live and work in the countryside have limited choices for getting from A to B. Local authorities no longer have to replace Local Transport Plans, but simply to review them. Our biggest fear is that, even though DfT guidance recommends reducing carbon emissions, nothing will stop local authorities from green-lighting high carbon initiatives, like road building, while slashing bus services! Traffic volumes are increasing fastest in rural areas with the worst effects in previously tranquil areas. People are afraid to walk and cycle and as the cost of driving continues to rise, councils are cutting transport budgets. Demographic changes and an aging population mean that a growing proportion of people may become stranded as they lose their ability to continue driving. A couple, in their sixties, living in a Hampshire village two miles from the nearest town, is a fine example. The lady would love to cycle to town but is justly scared of doing so along the busy road. What alternative will be left when they become too frail to drive their own car? Will it be sustainable public transport or a costly taxi ride?

Hampshire County Council



At Hampshire County Council spending is to be cut by 28% over four years, but good news has come in July from the DfT about new funding for Hampshire for projects that could include car sharing, electric vehicle charging posts and improvement to bus services. CPRE wants to support alternative transport solutions in rural and urban areas so is developing a Transport Toolkit to equip residents to implement sustainable local transport projects in their communities. The current economic and political climate means that communities must find innovative ways to persuade people to change their travel behavior. This summer, we have been working on a pilot scheme in Medstead and Four Marks, which aims to put the new Toolkit into action. When it is launched nationally later this year, it will include working examples of innovative rural transport solutions. Medstead, together with Four Marks, has around 6,000 residents. 1500 cars pass through them at peak times, on the A31. A questionnaire revealed that 56.8% of respondents think there needs to be a reduction in traffic while 42% want to encourage more cycling. Over 20% travel less than five miles to work. We have been working with Parish Plan groups and Medstead Greening Group on the first ever project to trial electric bikes in a rural community.



CPRE Transport Toolkit



The CPRE Transport Toolkit will show how joined up thinking about transport and local services can improve communities quality of life. Theme sheets will set out practical options that people can pick and mix to suit different needs and resources. People will be encouraged to share best practice so that communities will be in a stronger position to lobby councillors for practical sustainable transport projects. By piloting the Transport Toolkit, CPRE Hampshire volunteers are giving practical support to community-led initiatives. We hope councillors will see the possibilities and put forward such schemes in future bids.

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