Draft Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report

Ended on the 15th January 2010
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16 Transport

16.1 Introduction

16.1.1 Transport plays a vital role in supporting sustainable development. In economic terms an efficient and well managed transport network connects localities and regions to national and international markets, secures the localised benefits of agglomeration economies and underpins private sector productivity gains. In social terms good connectivity can stimulate labour market flexibility through improvements in accessibility, allowing a wider range of the population to access employment opportunities. Environmental impacts can be reduced by sustainable transport schemes which may include fast, efficient and affordable public transport as well as the provision of walking and cycling infrastructure. Harlow’s Core Strategy should play a key role in encouraging spatial development which leads to sustainable transport patterns in the District and beyond.

16.2 What’s the policy context?

16.2.1 PPG13: Transport (2002)262 states that quality of life depends upon transport and easy access to jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services. PPG13’s objectives include the integration of planning and transport at the national, regional, strategic and local level in order to promote more sustainable transport choices for both people and moving freight; promote accessibility to jobs and services by public transport, walking and cycling; and reduce the need to travel, especially by car. The guidance also recognises the role of walking and cycling in reducing air pollution.

16.2.2 Transport 2010: The Ten-Year Plan (July 2000)263 and Progress Report (2003) set out a strategy to tackle congestion and pollution by improving all types of transport (rail, road, public and private). Targets include: a 50% increase in rail use (measured by passenger kilometres); an 80% increase in rail freight; and a 10% increase in bus passenger journeys, and the approach is based on:

  • integrated transport;

  • public and private partnership between the government and private sector; and

  • new projects to modernise the transport network.

16.2.3 The Future of Transport: A Network for 2030 White Paper (2004)264 updated the ‘Transport 2010’ policies and examined the factors that will shape travel and transport over the next thirty years. It sets out how the Government will respond to the increasing demand for travel, maximising the benefits of transport while minimising the negative impact on people and the environment. Key objectives include: improving the flow on local roads; improving the reliability of buses; encouraging walking and cycling; better management of road networks; using technology to keep people better informed; promoting school and workplace travel plans and public transport improvements; more demand responsive transport; and making services more accessible to improve travel choice.

16.2.4 The East of England Plan265 contains the Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) to support the spatial development strategy in the plan and provides a framework for the delivery of transport infrastructure and service improvements within the region. This is a two-way process since the Plan should also take account of sub-regional and local strategies and programmes as they evolve. To implement the overall vision of the Plan the RTS gives a clear priority to increasing travel by more sustainable modes, whilst also recognising the importance of the road network. Objectives include:

  • managing travel behaviour and the demand for transport with the aim of reducing the rate of road traffic growth;

  • encouraging efficient use of existing transport infrastructure;

  • enabling the provision of the infrastructure and transport services necessary to support both existing development and that proposed in the spatial strategy; and

  • improving access to jobs, services and leisure facilities.

16.2.5 Policy T5 states that “Improvements to inter-urban public transport should be focussed on the Regional Transport Nodes", with Harlow listed as a Node. Improvement will include: facilitating movement between Nodes; facilitating access to London and national networks, and; improving interchange between modes and the integration of strategic and local networks. The Policy objective is to “enable more inter-urban movements by public transport and to provide links between modes and with local services". Measures should include:

  • improved access, particularly by sustainable local transport, to main line railway stations;

  • improvements to rail services to enhance capacity and passenger comfort;

  • facilities to support and encourage high quality interurban bus / coach services, particularly east-west links and

  • other situations where rail is not available, co-ordinated with rail and local public transport; and

  • strategic park and ride with the aim of reducing car use.

16.2.6 Policy T15: Transport Investment Priorities, identifies the London to Stansted corridor, including Harlow and access to Stansted Airport, amongst a number of areas likely to come under increasing transport pressure as a result of underlying traffic growth and the development strategy of the RSS.

16.2.7 Policy HA1: Harlow Key Centre for Development and Change of the Plan sets out the following transport priorities for Harlow:

  • achieving a major increase in the use of public transport, walking and cycling

  • enhancing access between Harlow and London, Stansted and Cambridge

  • addressing traffic congestion for movements within and across the town without encouraging an increase in car use

  • measures to support the town’s regeneration and growth and improve access to the strategic highway network from key employment sites.

16.2.8 The Second Essex Local Transport Plan (LTP2) 2006 to 2011266 concentrates on how the county will deliver ‘shared priorities’ for transport through a transport strategy. LTP2 has five objectives:

  • Tackling Congestion

  • Delivering Accessibility

  • Creating Safer Roads

  • Promoting Better Air Quality

  • Enhancing Maintenance.

16.2.9 LTP2 uses an area-based approach to tailor strategies with a regional and local perspective. The Area Transport Delivery Strategy for Harlow and the Stansted/M11 Corridor identifies the wider challenges facing transport in this area, such as from the housing allocation in the Harlow Area, current ongoing development, existing congestion, and possible airport expansion. The Delivery programme for the area is set out in Table 23.

Table 23: Delivery programme for Harlow and the Stanstead/M11 corridor

Table 23

16.2.10 Harlow is designated a Key Centre for Development and Change in the Plan. KCDCs are recognised as main drivers of economic growth in the region; where public transport accessibility is at its best and has the most scope for improvement, and where there is the greatest potential to build on existing concentrations of activities and physical and social infrastructure267.

16.2.11 The Harlow 2020 Vision 2006-09 states that, with regards to transport, the LSP will work towards268:

  • Developing and implementing initiatives that help to make Harlow a safe and convenient place to travel around and visit

  • Ensuring that reliable public transport is accessible to all sections of the Harlow community;

  • Ensuring that Harlow is able to exploit fully its geographical position in relation to major regional economic developments, by developing transport networks in our area.

16.3 What are the key objectives and other decision-making criteria that we need to consider?

16.3.1 Many of the objectives set out in the Integrated Regional Sustainability Framework for the East of England – see Table 2 – are relevant in considering future impacts on Harlow’s town centre. Particularly relevant objectives include:

  • Promote sustainable growth within environmental limits

  • Reduce poverty and inequality and promote social inclusion

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

  • Promote employment, learning, skills and innovation

  • Increase resource efficiency and reduce resource use and waste

  • Conserve, restore and enhance the region’s natural and built environment

  • Move goods and people sustainably

  • Meet the needs of the changing regional demographic.

16.3.2 Harlow also has a number of key priorities for 2009/10 to 2012/13 as outlined in the Council’s Sustainability Strategy and approved in January 2009 by the Environment and Community Committee269. Relevant priorities include:

  • Regenerating the Town

  • Promoting a clean, green, healthy and safe environment

  • Improving Harlow for business.

(1) 16.4 What’s the situation now? (including any existing problems)

16.4.1 Harlow is a regional transport node and is part of the Harlow and Stanstead / M11 Corridor strategy area for Essex (see Figure 21).

Figure 21: Harlow and Stansted/M11 Corridor

Figure 21

16.4.2 Harlow, located in the south of the East of England close to London, and has excellent access to the major international airport of Stansted (20 minutes away), Cambridge, London, and links to the M25 and the Channel Tunnel. Key transport routes are provided by the M11 and A414, and the local rail provides direct rail links to London via the London Liverpool Street line of the West Anglia Network. This provides direct access to London, Stansted Airport and Cambridge (with onward connections to the East Coast Mainline, Norwich and Kings Lynn)270. Harlow Town and Harlow Mill train stations are located in the north of the district, with the train line running west-east in the District. There is another station located at Roydon to the west of the District. However, “while Harlow is well located in terms of proximity to Stanstead and the M11, the current strategic transport linkages are currently inadequate and compromise the original vision for transport and connectivity by Gibberd"271 .

16.4.3 The M11 and the A414 carry large volumes of traffic and have a direct influence upon the daily traffic patterns and conditions in Harlow and on the immediately adjacent highway network. The most notable area of congestion is on the routes and links to Junction 7 of the M11 (Harlow’s principal access to the strategic motorway network), but primarily on the A414 (a busy, major intra-regional highway route, serving both local traffic and longer distance through traffic connecting to the motorway network). The main highway links and junctions throughout Harlow regularly experience congestion and delay, and this is likely to get worse as car ownership continues to rise and the delivery of the planned major new housing and employment within and around the town. Furthermore, the reliance on only one junction is unusual for a town of the size and character of Harlow272. Other major roads include: the A1184 – provides access to Harlow and Junction 7 of the M11 (via A414) and Sawbridgeworth to the north; the A1169 – links to the A414; the B181 – runs north-south from Roydon to Epping and provides access to the A414; the B1393 – runs north-south, and; the B180. A map of the key transport routes in and around Harlow District is shown in Figure 22.

Figure 22: Transport routes in and around Harlow District

Figure 22

16.4.4 The Harlow area also has several public footpaths and bridleways, to include Stort Valley Way and Three Forests Way, and National Cycle Route 1 runs through the area.

16.4.5 2001 census data shows that, although the average distance travelled to work is higher for the East of England (15.88km) than nationally (13.31km), it is lower in Harlow (11.78km) than for both these spatial areas. A notably smaller percentage of people work from home in Harlow District (6.41%) than regionally (9.44%) and nationally (9.16%). Less people travel to work by train in the District (4.23%) than regionally (6.05%), but more travel to work by bus (5.04% to 3.99%), taxi (1.22% to 0.45%) and as a car or van passenger (8.09% to 5.84%)273.

16.4.6 The original design of Harlow was for a population of 60,000 people with limited provision for cars. However, the amount of car owners and car dependents has clearly since increased considerably and the population of Harlow has grown to nearly 80,000. For example, the census statistics above show that a comparatively high percentage of people are dependent upon the car and other transport infrastructure to travel to work. Indeed, a report commissioned for the Harlow Regeneration Strategy states that “the town has reached the position where much of its urban fabric and infrastructure has reached its capacity"274. The report notes the following issues in relation to Harlow transport accessibility and connectivity:

  • Gibberd’s vision for strategic road connections has never been realised – no Northern Radial Road was implemented as originally planned for

  • A lack of links from the south and the west compromise internal traffic circulation

  • Upgrading of routes has compromised the planned district road hierarchy and increased the resilience of private vehicle over other transport modes.

16.4.7 The number of killed and seriously injured casualties in Harlow has been below the target line and remains one of the lowest in Essex. Speeding and drink driving also remain low for the area, however; 2007 saw an increase in motorcycle casualties275.

16.4.8 In 2007/08, a submission was made for future upgrading of the A414 from the junction with M11 funded from the Community Infrastructure Fund (£9.6m). Phase two of the Harlow First Avenue bus lane £3.4m was also submitted and proposals are being developed for a mass transit system to exploit Harlow’s location of West Anglia Mainline276.

Are there any evidence gaps?

16.4.9 No existing evidence gaps have been identified.

16.5 What will be the situation without the plan? (the ‘business-as-usual’ option)

16.5.1 Harlow former New Town’s infrastructure was built for a New Town population of 60,000 people that has since been superseded, and travel choices have changed and people have generally become more travel dependent and reliant on the private car. The existing transport infrastructure is currently under great pressure and is in need of updating. Without the plan this situation is likely to worsen and will be more difficult to address.

16.6 What issues should be a particular focus for the appraisal?

16.6.1 In light of the information above, key issues to take into account in the appraisal in relation to transport include:

  • Harlow is part of a key transport corridor, is a regional transport node and is part of the Harlow and Stanstead / M11 Corridor strategy area for Essex – in terms of transport, it is strategically very well located with further potential and benefit for the District

  • The current transport infrastructure is under strain, existing strategic transport linkages are currently inadequate and compromise the original town vision for transport and connectivity

  • The District has a low percentage of home workers and a high percentage of travellers to work. A more sustainable modal shift is required so that levels of private car use for commuting are reduced.


262 ODPM (2001) Planning Policy Guidance 13: Transport [online] available at:
www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/155634.pdf (accessed 30 June 2009).

263 DfT (2000) Transport Ten Year Plan 2000 [online] available at:
www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/policy/transport2010/transport2010meetingthelocal3735 (accessed 30 June 2009).

264 DfT (2004) Future of Transport [online] available at:
www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/whitepapers/previous/fot (accessed 30 June 2009).

265 GOEE (2008) East of England Plan [online] available at:
www.gos.gov.uk/goee/docs/Planning/Regional_Planning/Regional_Spatial_Strategy/EE_Plan1.pdf (accessed 7 September 2009).

266 Essex County Council () Second Essex Local Transport Plan (LTP2) 2006 to 2011 [online] available at:
www.essexcc.gov.uk/vip8/ecc/ECCWebsite/dis/guc.jsp?channelOid=16819&guideOid=39939&guideContentOid=44746 (accessed 07 September 2009).

267 Capita Symonds on behalf of EERA (2009) Regional Flood Risk Appraisal [online] available at:
www.eera.gov.uk/publications-and-resources/studies/topic-based-studies/environment-studies/regional-flood-risk-appraisal/ (accessed 14 August 2009).

268 Harlow 2020 Local Strategic Partnership Board (2006) Harlow 2020 Vision 2006-09 [online] available at:
www.harlow2020.org.uk (accessed 7 September 2009).

269 Harlow Council (2009) Harlow Sustainability Strategy [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/corporate_services/policy_and_performance/sustainability_strategy.aspx (accessed 13 August 2009).

270 Atkins and Roger Tym and Partners (2009) Harlow Infrastructure Study – Draft Final Report [not available online]

271 PACEC and Halcrow Group Limited (2005) Harlow Regeneration Strategy – Final Report [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/business_services/regeneration_unit/harlow_regeneration_strategy.asp (accessed 7 September 2009).

272 Atkins and Roger Tym and Partners (2009) Harlow Infrastructure Study – Draft Final Report [not available online]

273 ONS. Harlow – KS15 Travel to Work (last updated 02 June 2006) [online] available at:
http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk (accessed 7 September 2009).

274 PACEC and Halcrow Group Limited (2005) Harlow Regeneration Strategy – Final Report [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/business_services/regeneration_unit/harlow_regeneration_strategy.asp (accessed 7 September 2009).

275 Harlow 2020 Partnership (2008) Harlow 2020 Vision – Key achievements 2007-08 [online] available at:
www.harlow2020.org.uk/downloads/key_achievements/harlow_2020_report.pdf (accessed 7 September 2009).

276 Harlow Council (2008) Harlow District Council Annual Monitoring Report 2007-08 [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/pdf/Annual%20Monitoring%20Report%202007-2008.pdf (accessed 7 September 2009).

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