Monthly Archives: July 2014

Sheffield City Council object to 60mph on M1 in opposition to official policy

Sheffield City Council’s response to the DfT consultation goes against officially stated council policy of supporting lower speed limits on the M1. Their opposition to lower speed limits cited concerns about the economic impact, public reaction, enforcement and investor perception of Sheffield.

M1MMWe have air quality problems in Sheffield. We have an air quality action plan that calls out the M1 double decker viaduct as a problem. The area around the M1 is called Tinsley and the air quality is notoriously bad and breaches EU limits for NO2 for most of the year.

The DfT decided that they’d like to add an extra lane to the motorway and a consultation was launched to find out if people think reducing the speed limit to 60mph is something we should do to offset the damage. Sheffield Council submitted a response that was summed up as.

Unitary, county and district authorities… responded with detailed comments on the proposal, but all except Nottinghamshire County Council were ultimately opposed to the proposal.

Jack Scott, cabinet member for the environment disagreed that this was the response, he said that SCC wanted lower speed limits, will continue to lobby DfT for lower speed limits and planned to write to the DfT because they had misrepresented SCCs response. These tweets have now been deleted from Jack Scott’s Twitter feed. I couldn’t agree more with his views and the council’s policy on this, they’ve got it right.

Jack ScottWrite to DfT

The Sheffield Star newspaper has covered reactions to the decision. Jack Scott is quoted as “We have been let down massively – lives are being put at risk” and Sheffield MP Clive Betts said “The Government is showing complete disregard for the health and welfare of my constituents in Tinsley.”

The Sheffield Air Quality Action Plan includes policy to support lower speed limits.

Sheffield Air Quality Action Plan on M1 Policy

Sheffield Air Quality Action Plan on M1 Policy – Available here

However Sheffield City Council’s consultation response objected to lowering speed limits.

I think it’s disgraceful that there are still people in Sheffield City Council who trade off the lives of people against the perception of Sheffield to investors.

The City Council is concerned about the economic impact on the Sheffield City Region of the reduced speed limit on the 32 mile stretch of the M1 for an indeterminable time period. The Highways Agency has not modelled or made clear what the full impact of the proposed speed limit on the [sic] will have on the surrounding road network, the local economy and the development aspirations of South Yorkshire and the Sheffield City Region.

Sheffield City Region, along with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority (who have responded separately to this Consultation) would therefore, like the Highways Agency to further clarify and provide appropriate evidence on the potential economic impact of the Smart Motorway proposal operating at a maximum 60mph speed limit.

It is unclear how the speed limit will be enforced (and how the public will react) to ensure the claimed effect of mitigating the impact, particularly on air quality.

There is also an unresolved issue of ‘perception’ which is likely to affect the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Sheffield City Region in our desire to seek much needed inward investment. Such investment may be deterred if it is perceived that the sub-region required such onerous measures to deal with existing or likely future problems whereas others do not (in part at least through previous investment in national infrastructure).

It’s very clear that there is strong support for lower speed limits from the top of Sheffield City Council, it’s supported by cabinet members and council policy, however we need to find out why the official council response opposed lower speed limits.

Sheffield City Council’s official response to this consultation can be found here.

The Sheffield City Council Air Quality Action Plan can be found here.

 

South Yorkshire Local Sustainable Transport Fund 2015/16 – ‘Inmotion! altogether better travel’

LSTF Cycling part

The DfT have released the winning bids for the latest round of LSTF to cover 2015/16. This grant only covers revenue (ongoing costs), capital expenditure has been wrapped up in the Local Growth Fund. In South Yorkshire the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) submitted the bid along with the Passenger Transport Executive, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Total project cost of £6.325 million, with £1.479 million from local contribution and £4.811 million from the LSTF grant.

The cycling element makes up 35% of the total scheme and consists of supporting 2-3 cycle hubs in each district (presumably Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley) which will have a shop, parking, bike hire, cafe, showers, training, repairs etc. The Cycle Boost scheme looks to continue, and I think a Sheffield Sky Ride event will come from this budget.

The benefit cost ratio is calculated as 3.9 but I think most of this comes from the mass participation Sky Ride event, the stated benefits of which seem to be a little dubious!

In addition, to capitalise on the Tour de France, a mass participation event is planned for Sheffield attracting 10,000 cyclists leading to almost 500,000 car kms saved in the first year.

Part LSTF Contribution Local Contribution Total
Total LSTF Scheme £4,811,000 £1,479,000 £6,325,000
Cycling Element: Cycle Boost Hubs £1,593,597 £568,148 £2,196,205 (35%)
LSTF Cycling part

LSTF Cycle Boost Hubs

 

A note on the costs of LSTF. The local and LSTF contributions to the Cycle Boost Hubs don’t add up to the total cost, £34,000 is missing! The total LSTF project cost when adding up the schemes come to £442k less than the stated full scheme cost, where is this almost half a million pounds going?

LSTF Project Costs not adding up?

LSTF Project Costs not adding up?

On another note, transparency surrounding this application has been very poor. I had to submit an FOI request to a local authority to get a copy. It has been published on the internet, but at an unpublished url of http://www.inmotion.co.uk/lstfbid which isn’t included in the sites sitemap or linked to any news article or press release!

On yet another note, the DfT originally stated that they would provide £78.5m to LSTF projects, but only £64m has been allocated! Where is this missing £14.5m?