Transport Blog

Blog for posts that are specifically about the Transport Group activities
Published by Sam Page on 05 November 2016

20mph limits are proven to prevent road injury, and reduce fear, fumes, noise and loneliness. Like universal vaccination, 20mph limits cost effectively raise public health in built up areas - due to less danger and greater physical exercise. Not to bring in 20mph could be grossly negligent. 

Image Including injuries unreported to the police, an estimated 700,000 or a staggering 1% of people are road injured yearly in the UK. Road deaths are rising. Prevention is better than cure and why universal vaccination is best practice to prevent disease and for herd immunity.  Spending a small amount on us all protects us from epidemics like measles.  Wide area 20mph limits are like a vaccination for the public realm. Everyone benefits from a minimal one-off cost (approx. £3 p head) as lower speeds offer healthier environments. Image

Health economists study cost effective health interventions.  20mph limits were found to pay for themselves in reduced casualties in Warrington in six weeks.  Wide area 20mph limits are policy in over half of the largest 40 authorities in the UK as they were calculated to pay back quickly. 20mph limits are best practice according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), Public Health England (PHE), Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, Dept for Transport, ROSPA, BRAKE and more.

The Urban Design Group recently wrote:-

“Many local authorities have accepted 20 mph as the norm for urban areas.  Others remain reluctant.  Research published in 2011 (Wann, Poulter and Purcell) on perception of speed found that ‘children may not be able to detect vehicles approaching at speeds in excess of 20 mph’. This creates a risk of injudicious road crossing in urban settings when traffic speeds are higher. The risk is exacerbated because vehicles moving faster are more likely to result in pedestrian fatalities”.  Local authorities who fail to introduce 20 mph limits need to think hard whether they are being negligent in discharging their duties towards all road users, and in the case of children, on the basis of this research, grossly negligent.  In the event of a child’s death the path could be clear for prosecution for gross negligence, manslaughter and corporate manslaughter.”

20’s Plenty calls on all Local Authorities to vaccinate us from preventable road harm with 20mph limits. We deserve safer, healthier, less risky environments.  Indeed authorities have a duty of care to ensure public health protection.  Plus 20mph limits will, quite simply, make all of our places better places to be. That’s why 300 campaign branches of 20’s Plenty for Us lobby their Councillors for 20mph limits where they live.

Find out more here: www.20splenty.org

Published by Sam Page on 05 November 2016

On Wednesday 2nd November ClientEarth won its High Court case against the Government over its failure to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK.

Image In a damning indictment of ministers’ inaction on killer air pollution, Mr Justice Garnham agreed with ClientEarth that the Environment Secretary had failed to take measures that would bring the UK into compliance with the law “as soon as possible” and said that ministers knew that over optimistic pollution modelling was being used.

In his ruling, the judge, who listened to two days of argument at the High Court last month, questioned Defra’s five year modelling; saying it was “inconsistent” with taking measures to improve pollution ” as soon as possible.”

Defra’s planned 2020 compliance for some cities, and 2025 for London, had been chosen because that was the date when ministers thought they’d face European Commission fines, not which they considered “as soon as possible.”

The case is the second the government has lost on its failure to clean up air pollution in two years.

In April 2015, ClientEarth won a Supreme Court ruling against the government which ordered ministers to come up with a plan to bring air pollution down within legal limits as soon as possible. Those plans were so poor that ClientEarth took the government back to the High Court in a Judicial Review.

In his judgment handed down this morning, Mr Justice Garnham ruled that the government’s 2015 Air Quality Plan failed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling or relevant EU Directives and said that the government had erred in law by fixing compliance dates based on over optimistic modelling of pollution levels.

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “I am pleased that the judge agrees with us that the government could and should be doing more to deal with air pollution and protecting people’s health. That’s why we went to court.

“The time for legal action is over. This is an urgent public health crisis over which the Prime Minister must take personal control. I challenge Theresa May to take immediate action now to deal with illegal levels of pollution and prevent tens of thousands of additional early deaths in the UK. The High Court has ruled that more urgent action must be taken. Britain is watching and waiting, Prime Minister.”

During evidence, the court heard that Defra’s original plans for a more extensive network of Clean Air Zones in more than a dozen UK cities had been watered down, on cost grounds, to 5 in addition to London.

ClientEarth air quality lawyer Alan Andrews added: “We hope the new Government will finally get on with preparing a credible plan to resolve this issue once and for all. We look forward to working with Defra ministers on developing a new plan which makes a genuine attempt to achieve legal limits throughout the UK as soon as possible.

“We need a national network of clean air zones to be in place by 2018 in cities across the UK, not just in a handful of cities. The government also needs to stop these inaccurate Modelling forecasts. Future projections of compliance need to be based on what is really coming out of the exhausts of diesel cars when driving on the road, not just the results of discredited laboratory tests.”

Published by Sam Page on 16 March 2016

Image In April 2015, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Government must take immediate action to cut air pollution levels throughout the country. This means that the Environment Minister, is legally bound to produce plans that will reduce harmful emissions, such as nitrogen dioxide and particulates, down to levels that will not affect the health of vulnerable people, 'in the shortest possible time' before 2020.

Marlborough Area Board Councillors requested that Transition Marlborough host a public meeting in order to come up with an Action Plan that would cut air pollution. The public meeting was held on 10th February and was attended by 35 residents. You can download the full report on this meeting: Improving Air Quality in Marlborough  - or read the summary below:-


  1. Wiltshire Council (WC) designated Marlborough an Air Quality Management Area in 2010. This obliges local authorities to: 1) Monitor air quality (levels of nitrous oxides and ultra-fine particulates) in the town; 2) Prepare regular Action Plans to inform the Highways Agency of the nature and extent of the problem and define the role that the Highways Agency needs to take in relation to air quality improvements; 3) Refuse development within or adjacent to an AQMA unless measures are taken to mitigate air pollution.

  2. Current Nitrogen dioxide levels, as measured along the A346 (Salisbury Road, London Road, Barn Street, Herd Street) appear to be illegal, as they continuously exceed the mean annual legal limit of 40µg/m3. PM10 levels on London Road (opposite St Peter's School) have exceeded 100µg/m3 ten times since the beginning of 2016.

  3. Between 2008 and 2013, several Wiltshire councillors, with constituents living alongside the A346/A338, worked to get the route de-primed in order to encourage through traffic, including HGVs, to use the A34 to travel between the A303 and the M4. Once the route is de-primed weight/width/night-time restrictions or a 'low emissions zone' can be introduced. This could significantly reduce the volume of unnecessary through traffic, including HGVs and associated toxic emissions.

  4. WC appears to have blocked all attempts to de-prime this route. This is because transport planners estimate that only 50% of through traffic, between 7am and 5pm, i.e. 33 HGVs, would transfer to the A34. This does not take into account the impact of vehicle restrictions and the ability of local 'Lorry Watch' teams to police them. Recent correspondence suggests that there continues to be misunderstandings between WC and members of the A338/A346 Working Group regarding this issue: the Senior Transport Planner recently stated that “the Working Group believed that de-priming would not deliver the desired outcomes along the corridor”, while the view of the Working Group “remains that de-priming would be helpful in reducing some of the noise and emissions pollution, but it became clear that Wiltshire Council had and still has no intention to take this forward due to the lack of funding and the likely low cost-effectiveness of de-priming.”

  5. While the cost of de-priming is high (at least £250,000) it is much less than the cost of constructing a by-pass. De-priming would also reduce emissions and provide relief to several thousand families living alongside the A346/A338.

  6. WC has recently given the go-ahead for a new housing development on the Salisbury Road. The statutory measures for the mitigation of air pollution suggested by the developer and accepted by WC, will neither improve air quality, nor address increased pollution from the expected 200 extra cars. Part or all of the cost of de-priming the A346/A338 could be requested from the developer.

  7. It is therefore in the public interest that the following questions are addressed by WC:

  • What evidence is there that WC has worked with the Highways Agency to improve air quality in Marlborough, in accordance with DEFRA's regulations?​

  • The Wiltshire and Swindon Freight Quality Partnership, which is responsible for planning HGV routes, claims 'to encourage freight best practice and to develop the environmentally sensitive, economic and efficient delivery of goods throughout Wiltshire'. Why is 'improving air quality' not mentioned in the Terms of Reference for this partnership?
  • Now that WC has the responsibility for re-classifying roads in the county, why hasn't it taken forward the plan to de-prime the A346/A338, including removing Marlborough from the list of primary destinations?
  • Considering the responsibility on the developer of the new Salisbury Road housing estate to mitigate air pollution, why wasn't this company asked to cover the costs of de-priming the A346/A338?
  • Considering that levels of Nitrogen dioxide appear to be illegally high along the stretch of the A346, between 13 Salisbury Road and 27 Herd Street, with many residents, including children at St Peter's School (situated alongside the A346) suffering from asthma or other respiratory diseases, how can WC fulfil its legal responsibility to improve air-quality in Marlborough by 2020, without de-priming the A346/A338?
  1. Traffic is likely to increase on the A346 and the A4 as a result of cuts to subsidised bus services.

  2. Other remedial measures such as improving the cycling infrastructure and obliging bus drivers to switch off idling engines, while waiting at bus stops were popular with residents.

  3. Transition Marlborough has undertaken this research and completed this report, to assist the Area Board in fulfilling its obligation to prepare an Action Plan which will reduce air pollution to safe levels by 2020. We hope that the evidence contained in this report will enable the Marlborough Area Board Councillors to work with other Councillors representing constituents along the A346/A338 corridor, WC's Public Health and Sustainable Transport Teams and Highways England, to de-prime this route. We believe that this is the only action that can reduce air pollution significantly, within the terms of the Supreme Court ruling.


Published by Sam Page on 23 January 2016

Image What are we facing?
- Almost ALL Wiltshire evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday bus services set to disappear.
- Withdrawal of many rural bus services.
- Interurban and town bus services to be drastically reduced.
- Not enough capacity for community transport to plug gaps.
- "Nuclear" Option 6 could leave vast swathes of the county without bus services of ANY description.
- Council plans could bring local bus operators to the brink of collapse.
- There IS an alternative. - option 24/7

Wiltshire Council has launched a consultation on the future of the bus services that they currently support. Set against a backdrop of a big reduction in overall funding for council services, they have put forward a number of options aimed at saving money from the supported buses budget, and are asking for your view on these.

Wiltshire Council needs to save at least £2.5 million per annum from its supported buses budget, and Options 1-5 (completely withdrawing funding for evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday bus services, and drastically reducing it for strategic, rural and town bus services) combined would only generate slightly more than this in savings at around £2.8 million per annum. 

Therefore, you should not treat the consultation as a choice between the options laid out in the questionnaire, as Wiltshire Council would have to implement Options 1-5 almost in full in order to achieve their £2.5 million savings target. There is no doubt that this would in turn lead to the complete withdrawal of almost ALL evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday bus services, and the withdrawal of many rural services, alongside the drastic reduction of interurban and town buses throughout Wiltshire.

The only alternative that Wiltshire Council have put forward is Option 6, which involves the complete withdrawal of ALL funding for subsidised bus services, whilst attempting to keep as many of the bus services that would disappear as a result running through encouraging community transport providers to plug the gaps.

Fortunately though, there IS an alternative. The TransWilts Community Interest Company, as part of their research work on devolution for Wiltshire and Swindon, have put forward a Bus Franchising proposal which will avoid the wide-ranging service cuts that would inevitably follow from adopting the consultation questionnaire options, whilst protecting and laying the foundations for the future improvement of the Wiltshire bus network.  This proposal is called Option 24/7.

Read more, here...

The consultation form is available online at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/subsidised-bus-services-consultation.htm ... or if you want to read more before you complete it, please see our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).  

Say 'NO' to Options 1 - 6; At Question 25, write "Option 24/7 preferred - www.option247.uk".  We have until 4th April 2016.

Published by Sam Page on 30 December 2015

Image Transition Marlborough was recently tasked with reporting on the state of Marlborough's Air Quality, by Malborough Area Board in order for them to fulfill their obligations to DEFRA and the Supreme Court.  Here is a summary of our key findings - you can read the full nine page report by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

Sources of air pollution in Marlborough

The highest levels of NO2 and PM are emitted when queues of diesel vehicles are forced to stop and start, with engines idling when they are stationary, at the many pedestrian/puffin crossings and mini-roundabouts that obstruct the A4 and A346, within the AQMA. There are three crossings within 0.5 mile on the A4, close to Marlborough College, while two puffin crossings are situated on steep inclines on the A346. HGVs, in particular, that are forced to stop and start on steep inclines are likely to be a major source of pollution, both from braking to slow down and stop and from the exhaust fumes that are released on accelerating away. There are also several mini-roundabouts at junctions between the A4 and A346 that are situated close to residential housing. Congested traffic is common at these roundabouts. Queues of vehicles often tail back as far as Savernake Forest on the A346, while there are queues backing up beyond the Manton turn-off, on the A4, in the mornings and late afternoons, especially during term times. NO2 and Carbon monoxide (CO) is also emitted from the many buses and coaches that wait in the High Street with their engines idling.  

Recommendations for improving air quality in Marlborough

Wilts. Council has been monitoring NO2 levels outside 6 Herd street since the beginning of 2008. During this time, the level of NO2 at this site has been consistently above 52 µg/m3. The response from Wilts Council has been to write annual 'progress reports' that simply confirm these exceedances, without making any practical recommendations to address the issue. Residents who live along the most polluted stretches of the A346 deserve some action to mitigate this serious public health problem. In order to reduce NO2 (and PM) emissions to a safe level in Marlborough, traffic flows would need to be reduced by between 30 and 50%. This means that significant measures must be implemented in order to a) reduce traffic flows and eliminate pollution hot-spots and b) prevent further degeneration of air quality in the town. Full implementation of the following eight recommendations could achieve these objectives. It should be noted that TM has been lobbying Wilts. Council to implement many of these recommendations, during the past three years:

Consider the impacts on air quality when installing pedestrian crossings

The needs of pedestrians need to be balanced with those of surrounding residents. It was a local resident who first complained about the reduction in air quality following the installation of a puffin crossing on Herd Street in 2007. Since then two new pedestrian crossings have be installed on the A4, close to Marlborough College. No new pedestrian crossings should be installed without first assessing the impact on air quality.

Improve public transport to reduce reliance on private cars

In May 2012, TM presented a report entitled: “The Need for Joined-up Public Transport in favour of Marlborough’s Commuters”, to the Area Board meeting. Copies of this report were tabled to Wilts. Councillors. In this report we referred to the difficulty in commuting by public transport to employment centres, such as Reading, London or Bristol, due to the lack of integration between buses and train times, and the lack of buses early and late enough to allow travellers to catch the commuter trains, see Item 11 of the Minutes of 29 May 2012, Marlborough Area Board meeting. Although the recommendations made by this report were in line with Wilts. Council's transport strategy, no improvements have been made to local bus services.

TM has also been campaigning for the restoration of the Marlborough rail link. Our on-line campaign attracted more than 1,000 supporters. A railway station in Marlborough would enable local residents to walk or cycle to the station, rather than drive to Bedwyn or Pewsey. We are currently seeking funds for a feasibility study.

Improve the cycling infrastructure

TM has been lobbying town and unitary councillors for improvements to the cycling infrastructure for the past three years. So far cycle racks have been installed at one end of the High Street, but we have been unsuccessful in getting racks installed in a more central location, outside Polly Tea Rooms. The path that links Manton with Marlborough has finally been resurfaced at Treacle Bolley. Cyclists can now use this path all year round. Although TM has established a cycle network in parts of the town, we are still waiting for the promised signage. Section 108 funding has been allocated to build a cycle path that links the Sustrans cycle network (which extends to Swindon) at Five Stiles Road with the Business Park. However, we are still waiting to hear when this work will be done. Unfortunately, cycling through the town centre, via the High Street is still a risky activity, especially for children, considering the heavy traffic and the lines of cars that are parked either side of the road, alongside the pavement. Improving the cycling infrastructure would encourage residents to cycle, rather than drive to school or the town centre.

Discourage cars from parking in the town centre

Drivers are currently encouraged to come into the town centre, due to the presence of free parking spaces. Many drivers cruise around the High Street until a free space becomes available. In January 2015, TM contributed to Wilts. Council's parking consultation and suggested that differential parking fees be introduced to discourage parking in the High Street. This would have made parking cheaper or free in out-lying car parks, whilst only allowing free parking for the disabled and those with zero emission/electric cars in the High Street (N.B. TM called for the provision of charging points for electric cars in the High Street in 2013). Such a scheme could lead to the construction of wider, tree-lined pavements, where pedestrians and cyclists would be prioritised and air quality much improved.

Oblige bus drivers to turn off engines while waiting at Lloyds Bank bus stop

An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions (including Carbon monoxide) as an engine in motion. Vehicle idling is an offence against the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002, incurring a fixed penalty notice of £20. It is recommended that Wilts. Council erect signs close to the bus stops in the town centre, reminding drivers of this obligation.

Do random checks on diesel vehicles to measure toxic emissions

Random checks should be made on diesel vehicles entering Marlborough to ensure that they comply with the regulations on toxic emissions.

Fit air purifiers in dwellings close to air pollution hot-spots

More than 100 dwellings are situated close to the roads with the highest levels of toxic emissions. Many of these dwellings are terraced, without front gardens and are separated from the road only by a narrow pavement. The air quality inside these buildings should be regularly tested and air purifiers installed by Wilts. Council if necessary.

Constrain future developments in Marlborough within or adjacent to the AQMA

According to Wilts. Council's 'Local Air Quality Management Detailed Assessment of Herd Street, Marlborough, August 2010': following the declaration of an AQMA, the impact upon the Air Quality of any development proposed within or adjacent to the area will need to be assessed as a material planning consideration. While this would not necessarily prevent development, should an adverse impact upon the air quality be identified then it would need to be taken into account and if necessary remediation measures proposed to counter any likely degeneration in the air quality.


Published by Sam Page on 30 April 2015

Image Despite our hard work trying to make progress with the Marlborough Rail Link project over the past few months, we have had little or no luck in convincing Wiltshire councillors to take this important project seriously.

Our first task, in October 2014, was to convince Crown Estates to leave space for an access road in the new Salisbury Road housing estate. Thanks to your support for this request the necessary change seems to be evident in the new plan.

In December 2014, we met with Cllr Horace Prickett, who is the portfolio holder for transport in Wiltshire Council and he agreed to find out how we could access funds for a feasibility study (estimated to be £15,000). A positive outcome from this feasibility study (i.e. a Benefit:Cost Ratio of 2.0 or more) would enable the project to be accepted into Network Rail's 'GRIP' process and it could then be implemented within the next 10 years.

In early January 2015, Cllr Nick Fogg accompanied us to a meeting with Isobel Brown, the Director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership as this organisation is responsible for implementing large-scale transport projects in the County. Isobel told us that although government grants are available, she would not be in a position to fund the Marlborough Rail Link without the support of Wiltshire Council.  She also admitted that Claire Perry M.P. had complained that while a great deal of development is going on in the south and west of Wiltshire, little or no development is being planned for the Devizes constituency.

Since we did not get a further response from Cllr Prickett, despite several follow-up emails, we have taken our case to Cllr James Sheppard, who agreed to make an appointment for us to meet with Parvis Khansari, the Associate Director of Highways and Transport, who we hope, will be able help us access the required funding for this feasibility study.  We are still waiting for feedback from Cllr Sheppard.

In the meantime, it has been announced that First Great Western will be the new franchise holder for trains running out of Paddington. They recently wrote to our colleagues in the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group to inform them that the direct service between Bedwyn and London Paddington would cease to exist by May 2017:

"As you know from our discussions there is no immediate solution to the loss of through services on the Bedwyn to Newbury corridor given electrification is not being extended. This means in May 2017 Bedwyn to London services will be replaced by Newbury to London electric trains and Bedwyn to Newbury by diesel shuttles. "

"However, within the franchise we have committed to maintain at least one through peak service in each direction. Bedwyn, Kintbury and Hungerford will not therefore lose all their direct trains."

"We were also able to suggest a feasibility study into the use of Independently Powered electric trains over the route between Paddington and Bedwyn. The DfT have accepted that approach and have asked us to work up plans that would mean through services to Bedwyn, Kintbury and Hungerford could be re-established at levels similar to today by December 2018."

"We cannot guarantee the outcome of the study, but we think this is a practical option and will be doing our best to make it work. I will keep you updated."

You can read more about implications of the cut to these essential direct services, here...

Transition Marlborough's Transport Group will continue to support the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group in it's fight to keep the current direct service between Bedwyn and London Paddington, we are also keen to see the use of independently (battery) powered electric trains (pictured above) on this route. Such trains could be an integral part of the proposed Rail Link project as they could continue all the way to Marlborough without the need to electrify the new track.

Published by Sam Page on 25 March 2015

Image First Great Western (FGW) has been awarded the new franchise to run services out of London Paddington and one of their first acts was to inform our colleagues in the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group that in May 2017 all Bedwyn to London services will be replaced by Newbury to London electric trains (EMUs) and Bedwyn to Newbury diesel shuttles (DMUs).  This means that the hourly stopping service that starts at Bedwyn station will always terminate at Newbury, requiring passengers to alight at one platform, then cross over the bridge to the other platform, to wait for a train that will take them to Reading or London. This is likely to add up to 20 minutes to each journey.  It should be noted that there are no facilities for disabled people at Newbury station - so it is unclear how wheelchair users, for example, will be able to access these trains. 

FGW say they have 'committed to maintain at least one through peak service (from Westbury) in each direction. Bedwyn, Kintbury and Hungerford will not therefore lose all their direct trains'. Commuters from the Marlborough area, currently enjoy three direct train services to London Paddington, between 0540 and 0841 and three return services, between 1706 and 1835, with more hourly, direct services throughout the day, so this is a massive cut to our essential services.

According to the Guardian, FGW had originally declined to continue operating the western rail network after 2013 to avoid paying around £800m in premiums, the government has now reduced these premiums to just £68 million.  This means that £732 million will now be paid to share holders, rather than provide the £75.1 million needed to electrify the line between Newbury and Bedwyn, see ARUP Report: Reviewing the Case for Extending Great Western Electrification.

In a recent letter, Claire Perry M.P. says that she has written to FGW to request that they introduce battery-powered trains, that can also run under electric wires, to replace the diesel turbo trains, by December 2018. However, even if this plan goes ahead we will still be without the majority of our direct trains between May 2017 and December 2018.

You will have the opportunity to express your views at the Election Hustings at St John's School on 15th April, starting at 7.30pm.

Published by Sam Page on 11 December 2014

Image Do you think that our beautiful, unique High Street has been turned into an enormous car park, congested with traffic that poisons our air and is a danger for cyclists? Would you like to see fewer cars in the High Street, with wider tree-lined pavements and shared, safe spaces for pedestrians and cyclists?

Research has shown that more than 70% of the congestion in Marlborough town is caused by local traffic. These short trips in and around town could be discouraged by getting rid of free spaces (except for the disabled) and increasing parking charges in the High Street and by reducing the cost of parking away from the town centre (e.g. in Waitrose car park). People could be encouraged to walk or cycle into town by improving the local bus service and the cycle network. Cheaper parking away from the town centre would also be of benefit to low paid workers who need to park for longer periods.

You can read more about our future vision for parking and transport in Marlborough, here...

Are you ready for such a radical solution?

If so, please take part in Wiltshire Council's Parking Consultation before 19th January 2015, by clicking here:

You will need to consider doing the following:

  • Disagreeing with most options under Question 2.
  • Suggesting an alternative under Question 3, e.g. "Car park charges in the town centre should be increased and expanded to cover the whole High Street to discourage local traffic, reduce congestion and improve air quality. Variable charging should mean reducing or eliminating car park charges away from the town centre to encourage walking and cycling. Local bus services should be improved".
  • Suggesting alternative options for Questions 4 to 11, e.g. 'The cost of car parking away from the High Street should be reduced or eliminated to help low paid workers and to reduce congestion and the associated toxic emissions'.
  • Inserting your vision of a less congested future for our High Street in the box under Question 12.
Published by Sam Page on 18 October 2014

Network Rail's 'Western Route Study' (October 2014) has just been published. It states:Image

Following electrification to Newbury, the 2019 Industry Train Service Specification (ITSS) assumes that the current London Paddington – Bedwyn service will operate with electric rolling stock and therefore be truncated at Newbury. A diesel shuttle service is proposed between Newbury and Bedwyn. These services will operate all day.

It looks as if the DfT and Network Rail still, at least publically, have their head in the sand about the problem this will cause commuters from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury.

Please sign our e-Petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/70941 where we call upon the DfT to specify, in the forthcoming franchise extension document, that Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury must retain their current level of direct Paddington services.

Even if you are not a regular train user please consider the impact on our local economy and how that will affect you. Local estate agents have calculated a 15% drop in house prices should these cuts go ahead.

Steve Smith, Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group

Published by Sam Page on 10 September 2014


Marlborough's cycle network is made up of quiet roads, pedestrian foot-paths and busy highways, lined with parked cars.  The Cycling Group has been working with Wiltshire Council, via the Area Board, to try and improve this network, for example, by resurfacing the path through Treacle Bolly and by installing proper signs along the designated route.  However, for the cycle network to be safe for cyclists of all ages, there needs to be much more attention paid to prioritating the needs of cyclists, over those of vehicles.  This includes introducing speed limits on roads shared by cyclists, reducing the dangers posed by parked cars and removing the need to dismount, by separating the cycle paths from pedestrian foot-paths and providing secure routes around roundabouts.

You can view the interactive map of Marlborough's cycle network and some of the hazards that local cyclists face by clicking, here...

Wiltshire Council's Active Travel Strategy (March 2010) states that walking and cycling must be at the heart of transport and health strategies in the county - and aims to 'provide a sympathetically designed, high quality and well maintained network of cycle routes in the principal settlements and market towns (including Marlborough) and where appropriate, between the market towns and to national cycle routes'.

The Department for Transport's Manual for Streets provides the following guidance for safe cycling:

  • Cyclists prefer direct, barrier-free routes with smooth surfaces. Routes should avoid the need for cyclists to dismount.
  • Cyclists are more likely to choose routes that enable them to keep moving. Routes that take cyclists away from their desire lines and require them to concede priority to side-road traffic are less likely to be used. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cyclists using cycle tracks running adjacent and parallel to a main road are particularly vulnerable when they cross the mouths of side roads and that, overall, these routes can be more hazardous to cyclists than the equivalent on-road route.
  • Cyclists are particularly sensitive to traffic conditions. High speeds or high volumes of traffic tend to discourage cycling. If traffic conditions are inappropriate for on-street cycling, the factors contributing to them need to be addressed, if practicable, to make on-street cycling satisfactory.
  • Where cycle-specific facilities, such as cycle tracks, are provided, their geometry and visibility should be in accordance with the appropriate design speed. The design speed for a cycle track would normally be 30 km/h (20 mph), but reduced as necessary to as low as 10 km/h (6 mph) for short distances where cyclists would expect to slow down, such as on the approach to a subway. Blind corners are a hazard and should be avoided.
  • Cyclists should be catered for on the road if at all practicable. If cycle lanes are installed, measures should be taken to prevent them from being blocked by parked vehicles. If cycle tracks are provided, they should be physically segregated from footways/footpaths if there is sufficient width available. However, there is generally little point in segregating a combined width of about 3.3 m or less. The fear of being struck by cyclists is a significant concern for many disabled people. Access officers and consultation groups should be involved in the decision- making process.

You can read the Department for Transport's full Manual for Streets by clicking here...

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