Opinion: Transport plan offers little for Peterborough

This week I want to talk about transport and in particular the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan being produced by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), writes Lib Dem councillor Nick Sandford.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 1:02 pm
Have a say on the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan
Have a say on the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan

They are currently running a consultation on a special website at www.yourltcp.co.uk and this runs until 2 August.

So why is it important? Well quite simply because Government will use the plan to help determine how much money the Cambs and Peterborough area is given for transport projects over the next five years.

And unfortunately, the proposals for Peterborough in the draft LTCP document are deeply disappointing.

As I write this, the temperature outside is 34 degrees. Tomorrow (Tuesday) it is predicted to be 41 degrees or maybe more.

We know that transport accounts for over 20% of Peterborough's carbon emissions. So we can't tackle climate change effectively if we don't have see a big shift in the way people travel, particularly in a place like Peterborough which has been designed around the needs of the private car.

Peterborough City Council has set a target of getting the city to net zero carbon by 2030 (twenty years ahead of the national target of 2050) but there seems to be no recognition of this in the plan.

Here, briefly, is my take on the draft LTCP which is out for consultation. There are some good aims and objectives in the early part of the plan and it states that in transport planning the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users should be given priority.

There is an aim to reduce car usage by 15% but little detail on how this will be achieved particularly in Peterborough, which is the largest and fastest growing city in the CPCA area. In fact the section on detailed plans for "Greater Cambridge" takes up 14 pages of the plan, whereas only 5 pages are devoted to Peterborough.

The plan has no long term vision for Peterborough.

With a population of 215,000, we should be planning now for medium to long term options like a tram or light rail system. Several new railway stations are being planned for the south of Cambridgeshire but none in Peterborough.

Trains on the proposed new rail line from Wisbech to March will run to Cambridge when arguably they could more usefully run to Peterborough.

Nothing is being proposed for Peterborough's dire public transport links into Northamptonshire: a 40 mile trip to Northampton can take up to 3 hours by bus. Bus patronage in Peterborough fell by 27% over four years even before the pandemic and bus service frequencies on many routes have been halved recently.

We have lots of cycle lanes in parts of the city but they are poorly connected and maintained and cycle usage is abysmal compared to other parts of the county.

There is no mention anywhere in the plan of the River Nene and its potential for use as a transport corridor for a variety of purposes.

In summary, the LTCP looks like a plan written by people in Cambridge for the benefit of Cambridge and its surrounding area. Most of the major projects proposed for Peterborough are about road building and road widening which is precisely the opposite of what we should be doing in a climate emergency.

Do have a look and, if you share my concerns, please do give your views to the CPCA before 2 August.