We will fix the roads, give walking and cycling the investment they deserve and get people back on public transport safely.
- A culture of civic pride where second-rate repairs are not tolerated;
- Our fair share of the national funding to fix the roads;
- A Green Transport Commissioner to be a trailblazer for walking, cycling and public transport in Gloucestershire;
- A joined-up and safe walking and cycling network across the county;
- A reliable and attractive public transport service and
- Infrastructure to support the electric car revolution.
We are all embarrassed by the state of Gloucestershire’s roads. Visiting neighbouring counties, their roads never appear as pothole-riddled and dangerous as Gloucestershire’s.
Indeed, in our county, we still have an estimated £80 million black hole of highways repairs that are needed, while road verges and footways have been allowed to run wild, covering signs and proving dangerous for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
Despite being a large rural council, with nearly 1 per cent of the UK’s population, Gloucestershire residents have never received our fair share of highways’ money. If elected to office, we would:
- Campaign to get more money to fix the county’s dangerous roads;
- Give you greater power over highway priorities, increasing the money ringfenced for priorities identified by communities, parish councillors and residents and
- Create a fund to improve the appearance of the highways – dealing with out-of-control vegetation and replacing faded and dangerously obscured signage.
Supporting our climate ambitions
Highways and transport also have a huge role to play in delivering our ambitions to tackle the Climate Emergency. They are responsible for more than a third of the county’s total emissions. The Liberal Democrats have a plan to help residents and businesses stay connected while living greener lives.
Walking and cycling
On day one, the Liberal Democrats will create the post of “Green Transport Commissioner.”
- Much like city-regions, we will recruit a commissioner to be a trailblazer for public transport, walking and cycling in Gloucestershire.
We will create a truly joined-up and safe walking and cycling network across the county.
- Working with the districts, communities and local partners we will give walking and cycling the investment it desperately needs – delivering high quality segregated schemes that are safe and cater for every experience level.
- In the recent budget, the Conservatives allocated well below the national average of the highways budget to walking and cycling.
- We would immediately increase this to 5 per cent, striving towards 10 per cent by 2025.
- Restrictions associated with Covid-19 have taken a heavy toll on public transport, however, once restrictions ease, encouraging people back onto buses and trains and out of their private vehicles will be essential in our fight against climate change and air pollution.
- We will support bus companies by investing in the wider roll-out of real time information systems and smartphone apps so you can rely on the county’s network.
- We will encourage local operators to invest in their fleet, making the service safer and more attractive.
- We will support rural routes to ensure those living in the countryside are not left disconnected and isolated.
- We will work up a business case to look at light rail services across the county, including between Cheltenham and Gloucester, and support the ambitions of Cotswold District Council to rebuild the rail connection between Cirencester and Kemble.
The electric revolution
- As the country phases out petrol and diesel engines over the next decade, before a ban on new fossil-fuelled car sales in 2030, we will ensure that out county is ready for the explosion in electric car sales, with investment in rapid car chargers throughout the county.
- We will lead from the front, eradicating petrol and diesel cars from the County Council’s car fleet.
- We will work with car-sharing companies to pilot the roll-out of short-term rental electric cars.
Climate change adaption
- We are already seeing the impact of climate change in Gloucestershire, with hotter summers than ever and regular record-breaking floods.
- We will ensure that Gloucestershire’s residents are kept safe from such weather events, including larger investments in drainage schemes to protect people’s homes from flooding.
Gloucestershire consistently sees around 1,000 road casualties every year, with dozens of fatalities occurring on our county’s roads. In power we would prioritise road safety for all road users.
We would take decisive action on residential speed limits. Working with local communities and residents, we are committed to making 20 mph the standard speed limit in areas where pedestrians, cyclists and children frequently share the road.
In the last year we successfully campaigned for £200,000 to establish six School Street schemes – which protect children from traffic outside schools during drop off and pick up times – one in every district in the county. We would roll these schemes out to any suitable school that wanted one, in consultation with the local communities and residents.
We would also unlock the slow process of making road safety improvements and Traffic Regulation Orders, that too often get bogged down in legal red tape, enabling communities to implement safety schemes at pace.
There are many other areas where the County Council, as the Highways Authority, can make all of our lives easier:
- Having commissioned a study into mobility in 2020/21, we will work with local partners to ensure all recommendations are implemented on our highways.
- Parking reviews across much of the county are long overdue. In power we will review existing permits to ensure they are put in place to improve access for residents, rather than to generate income.
Public rights of way:
- We will protect public rights of way, improve the way the County Council deals with rights of way applications and clear the backlog that currently exists.
- We will invest in tidying up footways that have been damaged by tree roots, and grind out the stumps that this administration has left to litter our streets, replacing them with more suitable tree planting.