Draft Black Country Plan

Ended on the 11 October 2021
Need help completing this? Click here for our simple user guide.

(26) 9 Transport

Introduction

9.1 The delivery of an improved and integrated transport network both within the Black Country and in links with regional and national networks is fundamental to achieving the Vision and in helping to transform the area, deliver housing growth and improve economic performance, and thus in achieving Strategic Objective 10. The development of transport networks in the Black Country is focused on a step change in public transport provision serving and linking centres, improving sustainable transport facilities and services across the area, improving connectivity to national networks and improving the efficiency of strategic highway routes.The improvements needed to deliver the transport strategy are shown on the Transport Key Diagram.

9.2 To help address the climate change crisis, strategic and local transport policies, plans and programmes must emphasise the delivery of a modernised and sustainable transport network. Specific objectives include reducing pollution and road congestion through improvements to public transport, promoting walking and cycling networks and reducing the need to travel. National policy also focuses on the need for the transport network to support sustainable economic growth.

9.3 Additionally, transport strategy in the Black Country has a key role to play in reducing carbon emissions and the impact on the natural environment. The BCP will therefore need to focus on promoting the appropriate design, location and layout of development, increasing investment in infrastructure, improving the quality, equality and accessibility of public transport, supporting walking and cycling, enhancing road safety and reducing the amount of emissions produced by transportation.

Figure 8 - Transport Key Diagram

Figure 8 - Transport Key Diagram

 

Priorities for the Development of the Transport Network

9.4 The delivery of an improved and integrated transport network both within the Black Country and in links with regional and national networks is fundamental to achieving the Vision and in helping to transform the area, deliver housing growth and improve economic performance, and achieving Spatial Objective 7. It is acknowledged that in the short-term, the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift towards homeworking has impacted on the way in which transport is used. In particular, there has been a significant impact on public transport patronage levels which may take a number of years to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

9.5 However, high-quality public transport remains at the heart of the Black Country transport strategy. The development of the transport network is focused on a step change in public transport provision serving and linking centres, improving sustainable transport facilities and services across the area, improving connectivity to national networks and improving the efficiency of strategic highway routes. The improvements needed to deliver the transport strategy are shown on the Transport Key Diagram.

9.6 To help address the climate change crisis, strategic and local transport policies, plans and programmes must emphasise the delivery of a modernised and sustainable transport network. Specific objectives should include reducing pollution and road congestion through improvements to public transport, promoting walking and cycling networks and reducing the need to travel. National policy also focuses on the need for the transport network to support sustainable economic growth.

9.7 Additionally, transport strategy in the Black Country has a key role to play in reducing carbon emissions and the impact on the natural environment. The BCP will therefore need to focus on promoting the appropriate design, location and layout of development, increasing investment in infrastructure, improving the quality, equality and accessibility of public transport, supporting walking and cycling, enhancing road safety and reducing the amount of emissions produced by transportation.
 

(40) Policy TRAN1 Priorities for the Development of the Transport Network

  1. Land needed for the implementation of priority transport projects will be safeguarded to allow for their future delivery.
  2. All new developments must provide adequate access for all modes of travel, including walking, cycling and public transport. Residential development will be expected to meet the accessibility standards set out elsewhere in this Plan
  3. Key transport corridors will be prioritised through the delivery of infrastructure to support active travel (walking, cycling), public transport improvements, traffic management (including localised junction improvements) and road safety.
  4. Key transport priorities identified for delivery during the lifetime of the BCP currently include (but are not limited to) the following[21]:
    1. Motorways:
      1. M6 Junction 10
      2. M5 Improvements (Junctions 1 and 2 and new Smart Motorway Section)
      3. M54 - M6 / M6 (Toll) Link Road
    2. Rail: 
      1. Wolverhampton - Walsall – Willenhall – Aldridge Rail Link
      2. Midlands Rail Hub
      3. Wolverhampton – Shrewsbury Line Improvements
    3. Rapid Transit:
      1. Wednesbury – Brierley Hill
      2. A34 Walsall Road Sprint Corridor
      3. Wolverhampton – New Cross Hospital
      4. Walsall – Stourbridge corridor tram-train extensions
    4. Key Road Corridors[22]:
      1. A454 City East Gateway Upgrade
      2. A4123 Corridor Upgrade
      3. A449 Stafford Road Corridor Upgrade
      4. A461 Black Country Corridor
    5. Interchanges:
      1. Dudley Town Centre Interchange
      2. Dudley Port Integrated Transport Hub
      3. Walsall Interchange

 

(3) Justification

9.8 Good connectivity to the wider region national transport networks and Birmingham International Airport for both passengers and freight has been identified as being necessary to support the regeneration of the Black Country. The economic growth will be supported by improved access to major global economies.

9.9 Movement for Growth seeks to enable all residents being able to access at least three strategic centres within 45 minutes (AM peak). It envisages this being achieved through a combination of frequent rapid transit services and high quality "turn up and go" bus services.

9.10 A strategic public transport "spine" comprising high quality, reliable, fast and high capacity rapid transit between the strategic centres - Brierley Hill, Walsall, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Birmingham remains as a crucial element of the Black Country Plan transport strategy and is necessary to support the role of these centres as a focus for employment, shopping and leisure and increasingly, housing.

9.11 Currently Metro line 1 provides the required standard of link between Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Birmingham but it is important that the public transport modes of rail, metro and bus are better integrated to ensure that people can use them to travel where and when they need to. The combination of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill metro extension and the proposed Dudley port Integrated Transport Hub will add Brierley Hill (and Dudley) to the rapid transit network.

9.12 The Black Country Rapid Transit study of 2016 concluded that full delivery of the Public Transport Spine would best be achieved by completing the Stourbridge to Walsall corridor as a tram-based facility (subject to the adoption of Tram-Train technology) whilst the Walsall to Birmingham link should be catered for through bus rapid transit. This is the A34 SPRINT project, Phase 1 of which is currently being delivered.

9.13 The completion of feasibility studies into the provision of the Stourbridge to Brierley Hill and Wednesbury to Walsall rapid transit proposals will be an early requirement for taking the strategy forward.

9.14 It is vital that new development has access to high quality public transport facilities and services from the outset as this will ensure that people travelling to and from these areas do not establish unsustainable travel patterns due to the initial absence of good public transport.

9.15 The Black Country Plan supports the delivery of an enhanced transport network for the Black Country to ensure a seamless integration of land-use and transport planning and to demonstrate the strong interdependency of future land-use decisions and adequate servicing by a variety of travel modes. The exact mode of public transport should reflect existing demand and also take account of potential future economic or housing growth points to ensure an integrated approach to sustainable development and travel patterns. This is essential to support the scale of growth proposed for the core regeneration areas and strategic centres and to create an effective transportation system to support sustainable communities. This transport network will provide communities with access to employment, leisure, education and health care and will facilitate improved access to employment sites.

9.16 In this regard the re-opening of rail corridors such as Walsall to Aldridge, and the delivery of an upgraded Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line and the Midland Rail Hub (developed through Midlands Connect) will support housing growth both within the Black Country and in those areas meeting housing and employment need beyond the sub-region's boundaries.

9.17 The operation of the highway network needs to be improved to support the growth and long-term viability of the Black Country's economy whilst limiting the environmental effect of transport usage. Movement for Growth sets out a strategy of making the best of the existing highway network in a coordinated way through a programme of KRN corridor-based multi-modal improvements. Movement for Growth is being reviewed during 2021 with the aim of further strengthening the strategy to help achieve the West Midlands target for net zero carbon emissions by 2041.

9.18 New highway building within the Black Country will be mainly in support of regeneration, but some key junctions on the DfT's Major Road Network and the West Midlands Key Route Network such as important links for public transport and to the motorway network for freight will be improved by major construction schemes. Highway improvements will be expected to address the needs of all users especially pedestrians and cyclists and to cater for bus priority in line with current Government guidance.

9.19 Strategic Employment Areas are defined in terms of good access standards to the motorway network. As no new motorways are planned within the lifetime of this plan the M6, M5 and M54 motorways will remain vital transport links for Black Country business and freight.

9.20 Buses will continue to dominate local public transport provision in the Black Country throughout the life of the plan period. 85 % of all passenger miles were catered for by bus prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and bus services have recovered at a faster rate than either rail or metro/ by 2026. The National Bus Strategy (2021) requires bus priority to be an integral part of all highway improvements. Therefore, work on the key highway corridors identified through the Key Route Network Action plans will play a significant role in delivering this requirement through a partnership of TfWM, Local Highway Authorities and operators. Specific local measures to help buses will be delivered in other locations where appropriate along with the upgrading of bus stations in strategic and other centres where demand resulting from the concentration of new developments requires it.

9.21 Coaches have a role to play in providing affordable long-distance connectivity and access facilities to major Black Country destinations and will be encouraged.

9.22 While improvement of accessibility to bus services will be a priority, some people will have little choice but to make the first part of their journey by car. The success of Park and Ride in contributing to a sustainable travel pattern will depend on minimising the distance driven before transferring to public transport. Well located Park and Ride facilities can provide a realistic alternative for many car drivers and contribute to environmental improvement by reducing congestion on radial routes into centres at peak times and by improving public transport patronage. New Park and Ride sites will be developed in accordance with the adopted West Midlands Park & Ride strategy.

9.23 As transport projects reach the design stage there will be a need to safeguard the land needed for the implementation of schemes. When projects are sufficiently advanced, improvement lines will be imposed, or land will be safeguarded in the appropriate Local Plan Documents such as Site Allocations Documents or Area Action Plans.
 

(1) Evidence

  • West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan - Movement for Growth (TfWM 2016) Movement for Growth - 2026 Delivery plan for Transport (TfWM 2017)
  • Black Country Transport - Connected for Growth (BCLEP and TfWM 2019)
  • West Midlands Rail Limited - Single Network Vision (WMRE 2017)
  • Driving a Revolution in Rail Services for West Midlands - A 30-year Rail Investment Strategy 2018-2047 (WMRE 2018)
  • Black Country Transport Priorities Document (BCA 2017)
  • Black Country Plan Transport Modelling Study (2021)
  • Black Country rapid Transit Study (TfWM & BCA 2016)
  • West Midlands Park & Ride Strategy (TfWM 2020)
  • West Midlands Freight Strategy - Supporting our Economy, Tackling Carbon (TfWM 2016)
  • Midlands Connect Transport Strategy (2017)
  • Midlands Rail Hub SOBC (2019)
     

Delivery

  • Delivery of the transport priorities will rely on several agencies and multiple funding sources. The main delivery agencies will be;
    • Transport for West Midlands (TfWM)
    • West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE)
    • Local Highway Authorities
    • Highways England
    • Network Rail
    • Midlands Connect
  • The principle vehicles for delivery will be the West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan – Movement for Growth, the West Midlands Rail Investment Plan and the national Road and Rail Investment Strategies (RIS). Funding will be sought through a combination of national programmes, competitive funding streams such as the Major Route Network Fund and the Large Local Majors Fund, and through devolved local transport settlements with third party contributions wherever appropriate.
     

(1) Issues & Options Consultation

9.24 There was a recognition that a well-connected transport system is essential for the local economy. In achieving this there was support for the extension of the metro network and reinstatement/expansion of rail services and new stations. Particular reference was made to the reinstatement of freight and heavy rail passenger services on the Stourbridge – Walsall rail corridor and to the future need for inter-modal freight interchange facilities.

9.25 Comments were also received regarding the role and improvement of the Strategic Road Network i.e. motorways and trunk roads including those outside of the Black Country's geography, but which impact on it; M6Toll, A5(T) and Smart Motorways
 

Safeguarding the Development of the Key Route Network

9.26 The West Midlands Key Route Network (KRN) caters for the main strategic demand flows of people and freight across the metropolitan area whilst providing connections to the national Strategic Road Network. Highway capacity will be used to effectively cater for movement by rapid transit and core bus routes, the Metropolitan Cycle Network, lorries, vans and private cars. This will involve the reallocation of roadspace where appropriate to provide reliable, fast high volume public transport and an enhanced role for UTMC via the West Midlands Regional Traffic Control Centre (RTCC). The KRN will play a major role in supporting Strategic Priorities 7, 8 and 10.
 

(5) Policy TRAN2 Safeguarding the Development of the Key Route Network

  1. The four Black Country Highway Authorities will, in conjunction with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), identify capital improvements and management strategies to ensure the Key Route Network meets its designated function of serving the main strategic demand flows of people and freight across the metropolitan area, providing connections to the national strategic road network, serving large local flows that use main roads and providing good access for businesses reliant on road-based transport.
  2. Land needed for the implementation of improvements to the KRN will be safeguarded in order to assist in their future delivery.
  3. Where new development is expected to result in adverse impacts on the KRN, appropriate mitigation measures will need to be identified through transport assessments and provided through planning obligations

 

Justification

9.27 The West Midlands KRN not only serves the main strategic demand flows of people and freight across the metropolitan area and provides connections to the national strategic road network. It also serves large local flows which use main roads and will need to provide good access for businesses reliant on road-based transport. The network will use highway capacity effectively to cater for movement by rapid transit and core bus routes, the Metropolitan Cycle Network, lorries, vans and private cars. This will involve the reallocation of roadspace where appropriate to provide reliable, fast high volume public transport and enhanced cycling facilities.

9.28 The KRN has been defined on the basis of a Combined Authority definition agreed with the seven highway authorities, in consultation with neighbouring highway authorities, and features agreed performance specifications drawn up for different types of link in the network in accord with their role for movement ("link"), and their role as a destination in its own right e.g. a suburban/town centre high street ("place").

9.29 Improvements will be performed to meet the agreed performance specification for the links and junctions involved to support road based rapid transit proposals such as SPRINT (Bus Rapid Transit) and Metro. Improvements will take into account guidance contained in the National Bus Strategy and the West Midlands Vision for Bus. Where routes also form part of the Metropolitan Cycle Network, the standards contained in Local Transport Note 1/20 will be applied.

9.30 Capital scheme improvements will be identified where appropriate, but it also is vital that this network is managed efficiently through the collaboration of all four authorities in their role as LHA.
 

Evidence

  • West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan - Movement for Growth (TfWM 2016) Movement for Growth - 2026 Delivery plan for Transport (TfWM 2017)
  • Black Country Transport - Connected for Growth (BCLEP and TfWM 2019)
  • West Midlands' Key Route Network Evidence Report (TfWM 2018)
  • West Midlands Vision for Bus (TfWM 2018)
  • Local Transport Note 1/20 (DfT 2020)
     

Delivery

  • The overarching responsibility for the development and improvement of the Key Route Network sits with the West Midlands Mayor and Transport for West Midlands. The framework for improvement forms part of Movement for Growth with implementation guided by a series of KRN Corridor Action Plans.
  • Funding for individual improvements will be sought through a combination of competitive funding streams, such as the DfT's Major Route Network and Large Local Majors Funds and from devolved local transport settlements with third party contributions wherever appropriate.
  • Where proposals cover key public transport routes, funding will also be sought through the Government's Better Deal for Bus initiative.
     

Issues & Options Consultation

9.31 This is a new policy reflecting the role of the West Midlands KRN, which was adopted in 2016 through the creation of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the new role of West Midlands Mayor.

9.32 However, comments were received during the Issues & Options consultation relating to the need to provide clarity regarding the role of the West Midlands KRN within the Black Country and its contribution to the competing needs of national, regional and local users.
 

Managing Transport Impacts of New Development

9.33 To ensure that the transport elements of the Black Country Plan are deliverable, it is essential that both new developments and existing facilities identify travel and transportation impacts and proposals for mitigation. It is important that accessibility by a choice of sustainable modes of transport is maximised. Transport Assessments and Travel Plans produced by developers, employers, schools and facility operators are essential to bring about sustainable travel solutions and help deliver Strategic Priority 10.
 

(71) Policy TRAN3 Managing Transport Impacts of New Development

  1. Planning permission will not be granted for any proposals that are likely to have significant transport implications, unless accompanied by mitigation schemes that demonstrate an acceptable level of accessibility and safety can be achieved using all modes of transport to, from and through the development. Mitigation schemes must address in particular access by walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing.
  2. These proposals should be in accordance with an agreed Transport Assessment, where required, and include the implementation of measures to promote and improve such sustainable transport facilities through agreed Travel Plans and similar measures.

 

Justification

9.34 All developments will be assessed both in terms of their impact on the transport network and the opportunities that could be available to ensure that the site is accessible by sustainable modes of transport. The supporting documentation will either take the form of a full Transport Assessment (TA) or a less detailed Transport Statement (TS) and will generally be determined by the size and scale of development or land use. This will be based on guidance from individual authorities with a TA sometimes being required instead of a TS based on reasons other than spatial thresholds; road safety concerns, existing congestion problems, air quality problems, concerns over community severance or likelihood of off-site parking being generated.

9.35 TfWM's guide for developers should be routinely consulted for larger developments.

9.36 Where a development is considered to have a potential significant effect on the Strategic Road Network, Highways England will be involved.
 

Evidence

  • The Preparation of Transport Assessments and Travel Plans (SMBC 2006)
  • Transport for West Midlands Guide for Developers (TfWM 2021)
     

Delivery

  • Delivery of this policy will be through the Development Management process and via Planning Obligations or other legal and funding mechanisms. Detail will be set out in appropriate Supplementary Planning Guidance.
     

Issues & Options Consultation

9.37 Concerns were raised that targets for walking and cycle use and predictions used in TAs should be realistic, recognising that the area's topography and narrow roads often discourage cycle use.
 

The Efficient Movement of Freight

9.38 New freight railways and rail sidings will present an economic opportunity for Black Country businesses. Improved journey times on the highway network will support economic prosperity and switching traffic to rail or inland waterways will relieve the highway network of traffic, thereby reducing congestion and improving air quality and the environment. The siting of businesses producing heavy flows of freight vehicles in locations with good access to the principal highway network will also assist with environmental improvement. Improvements to the freight network are fundamental to achieving the Vision for sustainable communities, environmental transformation and economic prosperity and to delivering Spatial Objectives 2, 6, 7, 10 and 15.
 

(7) Policy TRAN4 The Efficient Movement of Freight

  1. The movement of freight by sustainable modes of transport such as rail and waterways will be encouraged. Road-based freight will be encouraged to use the Key Route Network whenever practicable.
  2. Junction improvements and routeing strategies will be focussed on those parts of the highway network evidenced as being of particular importance for freight access to employment sites and the motorway network.
  3. Proposals that generate significant freight movements will be directed to sites with satisfactory access to the Key Route Network.
  4. Existing and disused railway lines[23] will be safeguarded for rail-related uses.
  5. Sites with existing and potential access to the rail network for freight will be safeguarded for rail-related uses.

 

(2) Justification

9.39 Within the Black Country, freight traffic has always been particularly important reflecting the area's past level of manufacturing and it remains significant today with industry, distribution and logistics giving rise to much freight traffic. This is reflected in both the M5 and M6 motorways, where the proportion of heavy goods vehicles can be 30% of total traffic, and the local road network where the traffic on many main routes has an exceptionally high percentage of heavy goods vehicles.

9.40 Heavy Goods Vehicles account for 21% of all transport emissions with Light Duty Vehicles accounting for 13%, meaning the road freight sector contributes 34% of transport emissions, despite freight representing just 19% of all vehicle miles undertaken in the UK. Making the most efficient use of the highway network whilst providing facilities to transfer freight from road to rail and inland waterways will play a major part in achieving the region's climate change targets.

9.41 The design and layout of much of the KRN in the Black Country dates from a period when goods vehicles were significantly smaller and lighter than those currently in use and this gives rise to problems of reliability and with deliveries and servicing. In many cases upgrading of these routes is neither economically viable or environmentally desirable.

9.42 The BCA are members of the West Midlands Freight Quality Partnership, as are freight operators and their national representative bodies. The Regional Freight Strategy sets a context for planning for freight within the Black Country. Removal of freight from the road to rail or canal will reduce congestion, and support investment in rail and canals.

9.43 The railway network serving the Black Country suffers from capacity problems during the day when there is high demand for passenger services and this has shifted much freight traffic to night time operation. Of the disused lines the most important is Stourbridge-Walsall-Lichfield, which has been identified in the Regional Freight Strategy as being an important link for freight moving between the south west and north east regions. Locally, four sites have been identified as being suitable for rail connection if rail freight services are reinstated. Within the West Midlands conurbation, the Stourbridge to Lichfield link would act as a bypass for the rail network around Birmingham which has severe capacity constraints. The capacity released by the reopening of Stourbridge-Walsall-Lichfield, as well as benefiting the freight network, would allow extra passenger services to operate to and through Birmingham to the benefit of the wider West Midlands.

9.44 The Regional Freight Strategy notes a shortage of private sidings in the West Midlands Region. Sites with existing or potential rail access along existing and proposed freight routes particularly Stourbridge - Walsall and Walsall - Lichfield will be protected for rail related uses.

9.45 The Freight Strategy notes the need to address the increased importance of 'last mile' logistics and the role that transport innovation can play in this; parcel hubs, EV charging for delivery vehicles. Where appropriate, locations for infrastructure to facilitate this will be identified through Site Allocations Plans and Area Action Plans.
 

Evidence

  • West Midlands Freight Strategy - Supporting our Economy, Tackling Carbon (TfWM 2016)
  • Black Country and southern Staffordshire Regional Logistics Site Study (CBRE 2013)
  • West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan - Movement for Growth (TfWM 2016) Movement for Growth - 2026 Delivery plan for Transport (TfWM 2017)
  • Black Country Transport - Connected for Growth (BCLEP and TfWM 2019)
  • West Midlands' Key Route Network Evidence Report (TfWM 2018)
     

Delivery

  • The West Midlands Freight Strategy will guide the delivery of measures to improve the movement of freight both within the Black Country and to markets beyond the sub-region. The rail-related elements will ultimately be delivered through a combination of Network Rail and the private sector against the background of the national Rail Investment Strategy and the regional freight strategy.
  • The overarching responsibility for the development and improvement of the Key Route Network sits with the West Midlands Mayor and Transport for West Midlands. The framework for improvement forms part of Movement for Growth with implementation guided by a series of Key Route Network Corridor Action Plans.
     

Issues & Options Consultation

9.46 Comments received at Issues and Options were generally supportive of policies around the movement of freight. The reinstatement of heavy rail in the Stourbridge – Walsall corridor and the respective roles of West Midlands Interchange (in South Staffordshire) and Bescot were seen as important in supporting this policy.

9.47 Clarity around the role of the Key Route Network in the movement of freight was sought.
 

Creating Coherent Networks for Cycling and for Walking

Figure 9 - Cycle Key Diagram

Figure 9 - Cycle Key Diagram

 

9.48 The development of sustainable modes of travel and encouraging people out of their cars, particularly for shorter and commuter journeys, is an important element of Strategic Priorities 2, 5 and 10. Places need to be well-connected with attractive, convenient, direct and safe routes available to non-car users, thus providing real choice.

9.49 The cycle network in the West Midlands consists of three tiers;

  • The National Cycle Network (NCN) – identified and developed by Sustrans in partnership with local authorities and shown on the Transport Key Diagram. This network provides long distance routes across the country linking major destinations.
  • The Metropolitan Network (known as the Starley Network) – identified by WMCA in Movement for Growth and developed through the West Midlands Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (WM LCWIP). These routes link strategic locations in the West Midlands and are also shown on the Transport Key Diagram.
  • Local Networks – These are identified through individual authority's LCWIPs and will be a feature of Tier 2 plans.

The emerging Black Country Cycling Strategy will provide greater detail on those sections of the Starley network and the most important links in the Local Network.
 

(21) Policy TRAN5 - Creating Coherent Networks for Cycling and for Walking

  1. Joint working between the BCA will ensure that the Black Country can create and maintain a comprehensive cycle network based on the four local cycle networks, including the use of common cycle infrastructure design standards.
  2. Creating an environment that encourages sustainable travel requires new developments to link to existing walking and cycling networks. The links should be safe, direct and not impeded by infrastructure provided for other forms of transport.
  3. Where possible, existing links including the canal network should be enhanced and the networks extended to serve new developments.
  4. New developments should have good walking and cycling links to public transport nodes and interchanges.
  5. Cycle parking facilities should be provided at all new developments and should be in convenient locations with good natural surveillance, e.g. near to main front entrances for short stay visitors or under shelter for long stay visitors.
  6. The number of cycle parking spaces required in new developments and in public realm schemes will be determined by local standards set out in supplementary planning documents.
  7. The design of cycle infrastructure should be in accordance with the principles and standards contained in the West Midlands Cycle Design Guidance (TfWM 2021)

 

Justification

9.50 It is essential that the development of walking and cycling facilities are an integral part of the transport system both on the highway network, canal corridors, Public Rights of Way and on other paths. Comprehensive cycle and walking networks within the Black Country will enable communities to access employment, public transport interchanges, services and facilities in a sustainable way. A transport network that facilitates car use and disadvantages walking and cycling can adversely affect the health and well-being of its communities. Identifying and overcoming barriers to walking and cycling during development processes will encourage a renaissance of walking and cycling within the Black Country and help improve the health and well-being of local communities by reducing the incidence of obesity, coronary heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Both walking and cycling are active modes of travel with clear health benefits. The implementation recognises the specific requirements of each with dedicated, segregated cycling provision being the default objective along with a comprehensive network of walking opportunities available both on highway and off road.

9.51 Walking and Cycling Strategies are incorporated within Movement for Growth. The over-arching framework is the West Midlands Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan. The four Black Country local authorities are jointly preparing a Cycling Strategy for the sub-region and each will develop their own Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans during the lifetime of the BCP.

9.52 All new cycle facilities will be design in accordance with guidance set out in Local Transport Note 1/20 and TfWM's Cycle Design Guidance
 

Evidence

  • West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan - Movement for Growth (TfWM 2016) Movement for Growth - 2026 Delivery plan for Transport (TfWM 2017)
  • Black Country Transport Priorities Document (BCA 2020)
  • West Midlands Local Cycling & Walking Investment Plan (TfWM 2019)
  • Black Country Cycling Strategy (BCA 2021)
  • Sandwell Cycling & Walking Investment Plan (SMBC 2020)
  • Black Country Plan Transport Modelling Study (2021)
  • West Midlands Cycle Design Guidance (TfWM 2021)
     

(1) Delivery

  • The Metropolitan (Starley) Network will be delivered through the West Midlands Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan. Funding will be sought from a variety of competitive and devolved sources such as the Transforming Cities Fund and Intra-City Transport Fund.
  • The delivery of the majority of local cycle links will be through individual authority's Local Cycling & Walking Implementation Plans (LCWIPs) which are either in development or, in the case of Sandwell subject of future review. Where appropriate, infrastructure will be identified through Tier 2 plans and Supplementary Planning Documents.
  • The Black Country's extensive network of canals affords numerous opportunities to contribute to the delivery of a comprehensive network of safe, off-road, cycle routes. The Canal & River trust will therefore be a key delivery partner.
  • Where appropriate opportunities afforded by Highways England's Designated Fund Programme will be utilised. This aims to address specific issues such as safety and severance resulting from the interface between the Strategic Road Network and local routes.
     

Issues & Options Consultation

9.53 Comments received were generally supportive of the approach. The potential for canals to expand the network of safe, traffic free walking and cycling routes was supported along with a request that contributions for maintenance/improvement should be sought from developers where they would lead to increased use of canal network.

9.54 Concerns were raised that targets for walking a cycle use and predictions used in TAs should be realistic, recognising that the area's topography and narrow roads often discourage cycle use.
 

Influencing the Demand for Travel and Travel Choices

9.55 The management of the demand for road space and car parking, together with influencing travel choices, is fundamental to achieving the Vision for sustainable communities, environmental transformation and economic prosperity and to delivering Strategic Priorities 2, 5, 8 and 10.
 

(5) Policy TRAN6 Influencing the Demand for Travel and Travel Choices

  1. The Black Country Authorities are committed to considering all aspects of traffic management in the centres and wider area in accordance with the Traffic Management Act 2004. The priorities for traffic management in the Black Country are:
    1. identifying appropriate strategic and local Park and Ride sites on current public transport routes to ease traffic flows into centres;
    2. working together with the rest of the region to manage region-wide traffic flows through the West Midlands Metropolitan Area Urban Traffic Control (UTC) scheme and further joint working;
    3. promoting and implementing Smarter Choices measures that will help to reduce the need to travel and facilitate a shift towards using sustainable modes of transport (walking, cycling, public transport, car sharing).

 

(1) Justification

9.56 The Spatial Strategy aims at making the network of town and city centres as attractive and accessible as possible to encourage use the most sustainable modes.

9.57 Other important aspects of demand management are the prioritisation of allocation of road space towards sustainable methods of travel such as walking, cycling and buses by using schemes such as traffic calming measures and full or time limited pedestrianisation so making these modes more attractive to people visiting the centres.

9.58 Other important elements include the promotion and marketing of sustainable transport through travel plans (refer to Policy TRAN2), planning conditions / obligations and other associated sustainable mobility initiatives, including the promotion of schemes and opportunities for walking, cycling, micro-mobility (such as e-Scooters), public transport and car sharing. These policies will reduce road traffic congestion and pollution, improve road safety, promote social inclusion and accessibility, therefore encouraging consumers to access the four strategic centres using sustainable transport.
 

Evidence

  • West Midlands Congestion Management Plan (TfWM 2018)
  • West Midlands Park & Ride Strategy (TfWM 2020)
     

Delivery

  • The policy will be delivered through local authorities 'Network Management Duty Strategies' under the Traffic Management Act 2004, which places new network management duties on local highway authorities. The main duty is to secure the expeditious movement of people and goods, inclusive of cyclists and pedestrians, on the road network and on adjacent road networks for which another authority is the traffic authority.
     

Issues & Options Consultation

9.59 There was support for policies that place a greater focus on choice of modes but that behavioural change polices are also required if congestion is to be reduced.

9.60 It was suggested that green belt releases should be adjacent to the existing Urban area as these locations are more sustainable in transport terms than those in village locations and afford better opportunities for active travel modes
 

Parking Management

9.61 The management of car parking is fundamental to achieving the Vision for sustainable communities, environmental transformation and economic prosperity. It also has a key role in reducing the impact of vehicle trips on air quality and carbon emissions.
 

(8) Policy TRAN7 Parking Management

  1. The priorities for traffic management in the Black Country include the sustainable delivery and management of parking in centres and beyond, through use of some or all of the following measures as appropriate: 
    1. the management and control of parking - ensuring that it is not used as a tool for competition between centres;
    2. the type of parking – ensuring that where appropriate long-stay parking is removed from town centres, to support parking for leisure and retail customers and to encourage commuters to use more sustainable means and reduce peak hour traffic flows;
    3. maximum parking standards – ensuring that a consistent approach to maximum parking standards is enforced in new developments as set out in supplementary planning documents;
    4. the location of parking – by reviewing the location of town centre car parks through the “Network Management Duty”, to ensure that the flow of traffic around town centres is as efficient as possible.

 

Justification

9.62 The correct balance needs to be found between managing and pricing parking to maximise the use of sustainable travel means to enter town and city centres, whilst avoiding restricting parking to the extent that consumers are dissuaded from using town centres and deterring new development.

9.63 The control of and management of parking in centres will require a variety of approaches, recognising that not all publicly available car parking is in local authority control or management. The use of planning conditions to ensure that new public parking is managed appropriately will therefore be an important aspect of this policy.

9.64 The continued adoption of maximum parking standards for all but residential development is considered to be an important tool in managing demand for single-occupancy vehicle trips to centres and major employment destinations, leisure and other facilities.

9.65 Reduced levels of long-stay car parking in centres will enable more efficient use of land.
 

Evidence

  • Black Country Parking Study (BCA 2021)
     

Delivery

  • This policy will be delivered through local authorities' network management duty and parking management policies.
  • The management of new privately owned and operated public car parks will be controlled through Parking Management Plans via planning conditions or planning obligations through the Development Management process.
     

Issues & Options Consultation

9.66 No comments made.
 

Planning for Low Emission Vehicles

9.67 The UK government has committed to banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. The resultant societal shift from petrol and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to ULEVs will require widespread support from local authorities. It is projected that there will an addition 42,500 ULEVs within the Black Country by 2025. The Black Country ULEV strategy sets out a framework for how the authorities can support this transition.
 

(23) Policy TRAN8 Planning for Low Emission Vehicles  

  1. Proposals for low emission vehicles will be supported by:
    1. Ensuring that new developments include adequate provision for charging infrastructure e.g. electric vehicle charging points in car parks, measures to encourage LEV use through travel plans and other initiatives.
    2. Where appropriate the BCA will facilitate the introduction of charging points in public locations.
    3. Working with partners to explore support for alternative low emission vehicle technologies, such hydrogen fuel cells, across a range of modes; private cars, buses and/or small passenger and fleet vehicles.

 

Justification

9.68 In July 2019, the West Midlands Combined Authority committed to setting a 'net zero' emissions target by 2041, with a climate action plan being approved by the WMCA board by January 2020. The WMCA Board further approved a regional ULEV strategy, in February 2020. The Black Country ULEV strategy sits under this regional document. Whilst the WMCA ULEV Strategy focusses on sharing best practice, co-ordination and possible joint delivery of a large-scale network of rapid charging 'hubs', the Black Country ULEV strategy takes a more granular approach, focussing on the specifics of each authority and offering a framework for the delivery on infrastructure on the ground.

9.69 The study found that the Black Country lags behind the rest of the country when it comes to adoption of ULEVs. This is reflected in the availability of charging infrastructure across the four authorities, with around 80% of the sub-region further than one km from the nearest publicly available charge point. However, relative to median wage, all four Black Country authorities sit on or above the trend for ULEV adoption, indicating higher uptake than might be expected given the average wage across each of the four authorities.
 

Evidence

  • Black Country Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document (BCA 2016)
  • West Midlands ULEV strategy (TfWM 2020)
  • Black Country ULEV Strategy (Cenex on behalf of BCA 2020)
     

Delivery

  • Delivery will be achieved through the use of the Black Country ULEV Strategy as a framework to support bids for Central Government funding for public EV charging infrastructure as well as providing guidance for the provision of infrastructure in public sector-owned locations.
  • The Black Country Air Quality SPD will continue to provide guidance for the provision of charge points through the planning process.
     

Issues & Options Consultation

9.70 This is a new policy which was not specifically referred to in the Issues & Options consultation. However, in the responses to former BCCS Policy TRAN5, comments were received suggesting that policies specifically aimed at encouraging low emission vehicle use and providing infrastructure to support this. Some respondents stated that switching to electric vehicles won't cut congestion.

9.71 In particular, there was support for the provision electric vehicle charging infrastructure though comments were also received that this would have an impact on the viability of some developments.
 

(1) Monitoring

Policy

Indicator

Target

TRAN1

TBC

TBC

TRAN2

TBC

TBC

TRAN3

TBC

TBC

TRAN4

TBC

TBC

TRAN5

TBC

TBC

TRAN6

TBC

TBC

TRAN7

TBC

TBC

TRAN8

TBC

TBC

 

 

[21] Taken from "Black Country Transport - Connected for Growth", Black Country LEP and TfWM, 2019

[22] Schemes to improve general reliability, public transport, cycling and walking

[23] As shown on the Transport Key Diagram

Need help completing this? Click here for our simple user guide.
back to top back to top