Sustainable transport campaigners fall out over cycle path


National charity Cycling UK has backed walking and cycling campaigners Sustrans in a row over plans to run a new light rail link alongside a walking and cycling route between Bath and Bristol.

The Bristol Post reported that the eastern route of the city’s mooted 'underground metro train' could take the form of tram-like light rail system running alongside the cycle path between the two cities, which is which is partly made up of a former rail line.

Sustrans said the path has become a green corridor

Sustrans, which runs the National Cycle Network, said it was ‘disappointed’ by the report, adding that the former rail line would not be a suitable location for a rapid transit link and that there would be substantial local opposition to any plans.

It said the path has become the busiest dedicated traffic-free route for people walking and cycling in the country and is ‘seen by many as a community asset serving as a tourist destination, a place of business and a green corridor of wildlife habitat of significant value’.

James Cleeton, Sustrans' director of england south, said: ‘We fully support the principle of a light rail or rapid transit connection between Bristol and Bath. However, the route under consideration is the wrong one.’

Roger Geffen, policy director at Cycling UK, told Transport Network: 'The Bristol-Bath path enables huge numbers of people to travel to work or to school each day without using cars. It would be bitterly ironic to remove it for the sake of a light rail project aimed at doing the same thing.

'The real solution must surely involve removing some of the road space that will no longer be needed if the light rail scheme succeeds in its intended aims. That is what Manchester and other cities have done with their tram schemes. Bristol should follow their example.'

However, campaign group Rail Future said Sustrans had ‘got it wrong’ and ‘want to block future rail development’.

In an open letter to Mr Cleeton, Railfuture’s press officer, Bruce Williamson, said he was himself ‘disappointed that an organisation called Sustrans is trying to scupper new sustainable transport projects’.

Mr Williamson said that when the path was first established, ‘it was done on the clear understanding that it would be returned to rail use should the need arise’. He asked Mr Cleeton: 'Are you trying to renege on that commitment?'

He also disputed Sustrans’ argument that the route was too narrow to run a rail line alongside the path, pointing out that this has been achieved elsewhere with both rail and bus routes.

Mr Williamson added: ‘As someone who works in the transport sector, you must know that the only way to achieve significant modal shift is to provide rail-based alternatives. And the only realistic way to achieve that is to use the railway path for what it was originally built for - rail.’


Also see

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Senior/Principal Highway Network Management Officer

Bristol City Council
£30,746 - £37,107
These are exciting times in Bristol, as there is considerable investment in its transport and highway infrastructure in recent years City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Site Inspectors

Oxfordshire County Council
£29,909- £36,153
You will provide specialist technical support to some of the most imaginative transport and town planning challenges imaginable. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Local Transport Policy Lead

Oxfordshire County Council
£37,107 - £43,757
Define your true potential with Oxfordshire County Council Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Planning Obligations Team Member

Oxfordshire County Council
£21,074 - £29,055
You will witness first-hand the exciting developments currently taking place in Oxfordshire Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Transport Development Control Team Leader

Oxfordshire County Council
£48,551 - £55,374
We need visionary Team Leaders to help our people meet their targets. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Head of Property, Planning and Public Protection

Powys County Council
Head of Service 2 £66,854 - £73,540 per annum
Powys County Council, open and enterprising Llandrindod Wells, Powys
Recuriter: Powys County Council

Senior Engineer

Wirral Borough Council
£30,756 to £33,136
No holding back. No excuses. Just change Wirral. Bring it on. Wirral, Merseyside
Recuriter: Wirral Borough Council

Chief Executive

Epping Forest District Council
up to £120k
A role with roots in our community. Epping, Essex
Recuriter: Epping Forest District Council

Housing Renewal Technical Officer

Torridge District Council
£21,074 — £26,470 per annum
Advice to private sector tenants, landlords, & owner-occupiers about housing disrepair & energy issues. Bideford, Devon
Recuriter: Torridge District Council

Principal Traffic Engineer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£34,106 - £37,107 - PO6/SCP 38
To provide project leadership on the design, implementation and project management on major traffic Engineering schemes. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Programme Manager Central

Oxfordshire County Council
£37,107 - £43,757
We’re on a mission to enhance Oxfordshire – and with you by our side, that vision just became a reality. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Planning Obligations Manager

Oxfordshire County Council
£37,107 - £47,575
Committed to supporting growth across the county, you will ensure financial contributions are being actively and efficiently managed. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Funeral Assistant

Brent Council
£28,356 - £30,108 p.a. inc. plus Standby Allowance
Salary range
Recuriter: Brent Council

Area Engineer

Camden London Borough Council
£31,836 to £36,931
Does a combination of outdoor and office based work appeal to you? Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

Amber Valley Borough Council
Grade 6 - £24,657 to £28,221 per year
Amber Valley Borough Council are currently recruiting for an experienced Economic Development Officer Ripley, Derbyshire
Recuriter: Amber Valley Borough Council

Technical Officer (Highways & Drainage)

Oxfordshire County Council
£29,909 - £36,153 per annum (depending on experience)
Do you want to improve Oxfordshire's highways to make them better for residents, business, and visitors? Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Assistant Director, Public Space

London Borough of Merton
Up to c.£96k
Recuriter: London Borough of Merton

Assistant Director, Public Protection

London Borough of Merton
Up to c.£96k
Recuriter: London Borough of Merton

Highways Maintenance Manager

Plymouth City Council
£37,107 to £41,846
We are looking for a dynamic Highways Manager to lead and co-ordinate all our maintenance activities Plymouth, Devon
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Road Agreements Team Leader

Oxfordshire County Council
£48,551 - £55,374
Our vision at Oxfordshire County Council is to create a region that doesn’t just meet the needs of its population – it exceeds their expectations Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council