Plans such as Cambridgeshire’s Local Transport Plan (LTP), which was produced in 2000, should have a life of five years (with minor revisions), and they must give details of spending plans and have targets. These plans are used by the Government to decide on the funding that will be made available: local authorities must produce progress reports against them and, if targets are not met, monies may be withheld. One advantage of the five year life was supposed to be that longer-term strategic projects would be easier to manage than year-to-year funding schemes.
Cambridgeshire is rewriting its LTP some two years early. This is partly due to changes in major developments and to the Cambridgeshire Structure Plan. We understand that there will be revisions to the Cycling and Walking Strategies. Unfortunately, the extremely tight timescales could restrict the consultation process. We are also concerned that the new plan will last for seven years, a measure which is designed to ensure that Cambridgeshire will be ‘in step’ with other authorities at the end (in 2011).
What are the time scales?
Consultation starts in early May 2003, after the local elections, and will last for a couple of months. Leaflets should come through every door. Analysis of the returns, and incorporation of any changes, will need to be completed by early July in time for submission to the Government.
What does this mean?
We will not be able to give our members, and others who read our Newsletters, as much information or advice as we would like. This is because we haven’t yet seen a draft of the LTP and, by the time you read Newsletter 48 in June, it will all be all over bar changes to the final draft (which has to be with Government by 31 July 2003).
So what will we do?
We will put information and advice up on our website as soon as we have it, and if we really need to consult members we will arrange a separate mailing.
And what can you do?
Do not put leaflets in the bin, but read, digest, and comment on them. It could be the results of members returning questionnaires that tips the balance of the LTP in favour of sustainable modes of transport.