Policy 21: Sustainable access and travel

What we're trying to achieve

[3.21.01] We want to reduce the need to travel by private vehicles for visitors within and through the Lake District, and promote the development and use of sustainable transport and travel choices.

Policy 21: Sustainable access and travel

We will reduce the need to travel by private vehicle for visitors within and through the Lake District, and promote the development and use of sustainable transport and travel choices.

We will achieve this by supporting:

  • proposals for sustainable transport infrastructure and facilities which improve the connectivity of existing and new sustainable transport infrastructure, services and networks; or
  • proposals which improve water based transport through the provision of public jetties and connecting infrastructure; or
  • proposals that enable deployment of new transport and infrastructure technologies in Showcase Areas and transport corridors; or
  • proposals that enable the provision of new modes of transport and mobility services.

We will safeguard the rights of way network, and other cycle and walking routes from development that would compromise their use.

We will safeguard the operational Oxenholme to Windermere railway line and support proposals for infrastructure improvements to the line.

It is our aspiration to use disused rail track beds to widen sustainable transport choices where there is a realistic prospect of an alternative sustainable transport solution being delivered which supports the reduction in private car use. To achieve this disused railway lines will be safeguarded where robust feasibility and evidence demonstrates these routes are critical in developing sustainable transport infrastructure. Until robust evidence has been prepared there will be a presumption against development on land which could compromise the future reuse of these routes.

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Current Situation

[3.21.02] The Lake District is an area of low resident population (approximately 40,000) and high visitor numbers (approximately 19 million) which creates challenges and opportunities for the transport network. Currently, approximately 86 per cent of visitors travel to the Lake District by car, van, motorbike or motorhome and this increase puts pressure on the highway network and parking facilities. However, it has been shown through recent projects that if suitable infrastructure and services are available, many visitors will switch to more sustainable ways of travelling.

[3.21.03] The planning process is crucial in helping to achieve more sustainable travel patterns that will help achieve a modal shift away from the car and towards both public transport (bus, rail, coach and boat) and active travel such as cycling and walking, in order to reduce carbon and improve the environment for both visitors and residents. Whilst there are limited bus and rail services in some areas due to the rural nature of the Lake District, there are also numerous opportunities for more innovative travel solutions that take advantage of the Lake District’s features, such as lake based transport, multiuser trails, and fleets of electric vehicles. The Lake District National Park Partnership’s Plan 2015–2020 develops the ambition to encourage greater use of sustainable ways of travelling. It incorporates strategies and Visitor Movement Maps (Figures 11–14) which set out the approach to visitor movement. They identify travel approaches, gateways, corridors and hubs within the Lake District. We have developed a revised visitor travel vision ‘Smarter Travel: A vision for smarter travel in the Lake District 2018–2040’ which builds on the strategy for movement outlined in the Partnership’s Plan.

[3.21.04] Provision of public transport varies by area, with the popular visitor destinations in the South East and Central Lake District having high levels of bus services, water transport and rail services. The less populated and less frequently visited valleys have poorer public transport, but more potential for cycling on their relatively quiet roads. We recognise that cars will continue to be the most practical option for some journeys; it is extremely difficult to imagine the Lake District functioning without people using cars. But the car certainly does not need to dominate the experience of the visitor. The intention is to create the conditions whereby visitors and residents can travel to and around the Lake District by sustainable means.

[3.21.05] Visitor numbers are expected to continue to increase, yet to encourage a corresponding increase in traffic and parking would impact negatively on residents, visitors and the landscape.

Implementation

[3.21.06] The types of sustainable transport infrastructure and facilities that may be appropriate may include - public jetties, stations and interchanges, park and ride/ walk/cycle/sail facilities, visitor information, bus shelters, cycle hire, public realm improvements, multi user trails, electric vehicle charge points, digital information boards, real time service information, changing facilities and lockers, and showers. Some of these proposals will be identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

[3.21.07] Water based travel may include motorised and non-motorised travel. The Local Plan cannot establish navigable rights for motorised travel on lakes and this would have to be established through relevant legislation.

[3.21.08] Examples of technologies that have enabled the provision of new modes of transport and mobility services in recent years include electric vehicle charge points for electric vehicles and bikes, use of technology for real time information such as digital car parking space availability from the highway, integrated ticketing between different forms of travel, and/or attractions, and cycle route information.

[3.21.09] Where a development proposal would harm the rights of way network and other cycle and walking routes we would seek to ensure there would be no loss of use, and where possible seek opportunities to enhance provision.

[3.21.10] There is only one identified disused rail track bed in the Lake District which could provide alternative sustainable transport choice which is the Penrith to Keswick line.

[3.21.11] We would anticipate robust evidence, such as a feasibility study, to have been prepared or be under preparation by the next Local Plan Review (i.e. five years from adoption) to ensure safeguarding of this disused rail track bed in the future.

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