Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA) Scoping Report

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7. Transportation

7.1 This theme focuses on transport infrastructure, transport usage, traffic flows and congestion, and accessibility levels in Vale of Glamorgan.

Policy context

7.2 Table 7.1 presents the most relevant documents identified in the policy review for the purposes of the RLDP and ISA.

Table 7.1 Plans, policies and strategies reviewed in relation to transportation

 

7.3 Key messages emerging from the review are summarised below:

  • Future Wales identifies Vale of Glamorgan as having one of the most distinctive urban settlement patterns in the UK, with nuanced social and economic needs, and as such the RLDP should set out policies and proposals reflecting the structural economic and social issues that impact upon residents' prosperity and well-being. The emerging SDP for South East Wales will also seek to address regional factors such as transportation and accessibility to services, housing, and employment. Supporting Vale of Glamorgan as an area with essential services and facilities; transport and digital infrastructure will help to support better connections.
  • National planning policy is set out in PPW and Future Wales, which puts the concept of placemaking into the centre of national planning policy, to deliver new development which is sustainable. PPW is supplemented by TANs, which translate Welsh Government's commitment to sustainable development into the planning system. A primary objective of PPW is to ensure that the planning system contributes positively towards improving the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of Wales. This is as required by the Planning (Wales) Act 2015, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and other key legislation and resultant duties such as the Socio-economic Duty. Notably, TAN18 (Transport) includes advice on:
    - Integration of land use and transport planning.
    - Location of development.
    - Regional transport plans.
    - Parking; and
    - Design of development.
  • 'Llwybr Newydd: The Wales Transport Strategy 2021' was published in March 2021 and sets out the Welsh Government's strategic priorities for transport investment in Wales. The central aim of the strategy is to reduce the impact that transport has on climate change, setting a target for 45% of all journeys within Wales to be undertaken sustainably by 2040. The three main priorities in the Strategy are to:
    - Bring services to people in order to reduce the need to travel – which will mean an increase of local services.
    - Allow people and goods to move easily from door to door by accessible, sustainable and efficient transport services and infrastructure and
    - Encourage people to make the change to a more sustainable transport option by making public transport more affordable and reliable.
  • The Welsh Government's Smarter working: a remote working strategy for Wales sets out its plans to work with businesses, trade unions and key stakeholders to help employers adopt a more agile and flexible approach within their workplace. The strategy sets a target for 30 per cent of the Welsh workforce to be working at or near to home by 2026 and explains how the government plans to embed remote working for the long-term in the Welsh workplace. The strategy also sets out the economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits of remote working:
    - Social and well-being benefits -offers greater choice and flexibility which can improve well-being, mental health, work-life balance, job satisfaction and productivity, reduces the time and expense associated with commuting.
    - Environmental wellbeing- reduces work-related travel, which will help ease congestion, reduce noise and carbon emissions, and improve air quality in some areas, reduces traffic to create a better environment for pedestrians, cyclists and other highway users, encourages walking, cycling and e-bike use to improve health and promote sustainable ways to travel.
    - Economic wellbeing – creates more job opportunities for people based in any location in Wales – in particular, workers in rural and semi-rural communities, attracts citizens back to their country of birth, gives employers access to a wider and more diverse workforce and can increase productivity and reduce sickness absences.
    - Cultural well-being -nurtures and encourages a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.
  • The Cardiff Capital Region and City Deal seeks to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced growth throughout the region, committing to a partnership approach to 'Powering the Welsh Economy'. This includes investment in the region's infrastructure, and the creation of a Regional Transport Authority as part of CCR governance arrangements to represent the ten local authorities and other key partners in its boundaries. The RLDP should set out policies and proposals for high quality, accessible transport systems that support economic development and regeneration across the region for the benefit of its resident population.
  • Being committed to the Cardiff Capital Region, the Council sets out support for working with Welsh Government and the CCR Cabinet in implementing better regional links to Cardiff and other schemes to grow the local/regional economy such as the M4 relief proposals, electrification, and the Metro proposals. The South East Wales Transport Commission: emerging conclusions (2020) is a key piece of evidence in this respect, setting out future recommendations to the Welsh Government of sustainable measures to tackle congestion on the M4 in South East Wales. Responsibility for the development of strategic transport policy and the development of the regional transport plan lies with the South East Wales Corporate Joint Committee (Transport Functions) (CJC), (which came into force February 2022). Notably a new Regional Transport Plan is to be prepared for which WG guidance is awaited and expected shortly.
  • Supporting national transport priorities in delivering the Cardiff Capital Region complementary measures will maximise the value of transport investment, which will in turn support:
    - Economic growth.
    - Access to employment.
    - Tackling poverty.
    - Sustainable travel and safety; and
    - Access to services.

7.4 The Council's Local Transport Plan (LTP) seeks to identify the local sustainable transport measures required to ensure the Vale of Glamorgan adheres to requirements set by Welsh Government and current good practice guidance. The LTP sets out several objectives to 2030, informed by proposals within the Council's Local Development Plan and is also consistent with the Wales Transport Strategy objectives. In identifying schemes, the LTP seeks ways to secure better conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users and to encourage a change in travel choices away from the single occupancy car. The LTP also seeks to tackle traffic congestion by securing improvements to the strategic highway corridors for commuters who may need to travel by car as well as providing better infrastructure for freight. It also seeks to address the key road safety priorities for the Vale.

7.5 The LTP supports proposals for the Cardiff Metro and the LTP will inform future regional transport planning, as set out above.

Baseline summary

Key transport routes

7.6 Figure 7.1 below sets out Vale of Glamorgan's key travel routes, and it is recognised that the strategic highways network suffers from congestion at a small number of strategic bottlenecks, with a high proportion of journeys in and out of the Vale made by car.[125] Specifically, 'school run' congestion is a key issue for the Vale.

7.7 The A4055 through Dinas Powys is a key problem area of the regional road network because of the scale of traffic and associated congestion.

7.8 The A4050 Port Road is a major strategic transport route that connects Cardiff Airport through Barry to the transport interchange at Culverhouse Cross and the M4.[126]

7.9 The A48 Bridgend to Culverhouse Cross is recognised by South East Wales Transport Alliance (now disbanded) as a major strategic transport route that connects Bridgend to Cardiff and the rural Vale to Cardiff and the M4.

7.10 Barry Waterfront to Dinas Powys is identified as a major strategic transport corridor connecting Barry to Cardiff.[127]

Cardiff Airport

7.11 Cardiff Airport is the national airport for Wales and a key gateway to the UK for international business and leisure customers. 18 airlines currently operate out of Cardiff, offering access to a wealth of destinations around the world, including direct flights to global hubs in Doha and Amsterdam.

7.12 The Cardiff Airport 2040 Masterplan outlines that passenger numbers increased by 8% over 2018, with more than 1.5 million passengers now choosing Cardiff Airport annually. The core catchment area of its passenger market within Wales has a population of 2.4 million, with an outer catchment area in South West of England containing a further 4 million.

7.13 Last year, the Welsh Government confirmed that it would not be funding a new road linking the M4 with Cardiff Airport as the scheme is not in line with grant criteria or the transport policy framework[128].

7.14 The Cardiff Airport and St Athan Enterprise Zone focuses on the advanced materials and manufacturing sector, and in particular, its aerospace sub-sector. Within the Strategic Plan (2018 to 2021), it is stated that:

"At Cardiff Airport considerable improvements have been made to the visitor experience in an effort to attract more routes. This has included reconfiguring the car parks, internal changes of use to provide more natural light and additional public transportation to the Airport. These works will continue as part of the ambitious business plan being implemented by the Airport."

7.15 Notably, there is a continued need for enhanced transport links at St Athans in light of its Enterprise Zone status.

Figure 7.1 Key travel routes

Map highlighting the Vale’s strategic highways, the railway line that runs along the southern boundary of the authority and up towards Bridgend, as well as the location of railway stations along this route at: Penarth, Dingle Road, Cogan, Eastbrook, Dinas Powys, Cadoxton, Barry Docks, Barry, Barry Island, Rhoose (Cardiff International Airport) and Llantwit Major. The key travel route between Cowbridge and Llantwit Major via Llantwit Major Road is also identified.

Sustainable transport

7.16 Figure 7.2 shows sustainable transport routes within the Vale, which are further discussed below.

Rail

7.17 As shown in Figure 7.2 there are eleven railway stations in the Vale, connecting residents with neighbouring key centres, including the wider region and South East England. Most of these railway stations are serviced by trains every 15 minutes, providing a good connection to the capital. The rail stations are widespread throughout the authority with a number concentrated within Barry and Penarth:

  • Barry Docks.
  • Barry Island.
  • Barry.
  • Cadoxton.
  • Cogan.
  • Dinas Powys.
  • Dingle Road.
  • Eastbrook.
  • Llantwit Major.
  • Penarth; and
  • Rhoose Cardiff International Airport.
Bus

7.18 Figure 7.2 shows the bus stops present throughout the Vale. While these appear to be widespread, it is also clear that these are focussed on the Vale's main settlements. There are, however, limited bus service provision in the rural areas, which is recognised as a key issue in the latest Local Transport Plan. Specifically, there are limited evening and weekend bus services for rural villages and limited and restricted services in towns and urban areas.[129]

7.19 Greenlinks Community Transport offers accessible volunteer driven vehicles and has four accessible minibuses, plus two accessible cars[130]. These vehicles can transport people with accessibility needs to any destination at any time. A Greenlinks membership costs £5, with each journey costing as little as £2, however membership is not required to access the weekly services G1 (St Athan to Bridgend via Cowbridge and surrounding villages) and G4 (rural Vale to Cardiff). Notably, there is currently a reduced service due to Covid-19.

7.20 Integrated Transport Hubs facilities are available at the following railway stations:

  • Barry.
  • Barry Dock.
  • Cadoxton.
  • Cogan.
  • Dinas Powys.
  • Eastbrook.
  • Llantwit Major.
  • Penarth; and
  • Rhoose.
South Wales Metro

7.21 One of the objectives of the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is to connect communities, business, jobs, facilities, and services in the area. A main priority with regards to improved transportation is the delivery of the South Wales Metro, a major infrastructure project signalling an ambitious 'modal shift' in connecting people and places and enhancing the functional economic geography of the region.

7.22 The Barry Town Centre Gateway Regeneration project has identified the need to comprehensively regenerate land in the vicinity of Barry Docks Railway Station, which is an important gateway to the town centre and Waterfront. As part of the Metro Plus programme, the Barry Transport Hub scheme will provide a planned bus interchange, additional park and ride capacity, improve connectivity with the town centre and create a modern well-designed arrival point. This interchange scheme is due to be delivered in full by 31st March 2023.[131] Work has also been underway on the Cogan Interchange.

Walking and cycling

7.23 Walking and cycling are sustainable and practical alternatives to the private car, supporting healthy lifestyles and reducing the impact on the environment.

7.24 As shown in Figure 7.3, National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 88 extends through the Vale, in an east - west direction. Route 88 links NCN Route 4 at Margam Park in the county borough of Bridgend, through the Vale of Glamorgan to the start of NCN Route 8 in Cardiff Bay.

7.25 As discussed in Chapter 4 above and shown within Figure 7.3 below, the Vale has a vast PRoW network, connecting settlements and providing opportunities to travel sustainably for localised journeys. The Wales Coast Path is important in this respect, stretching from Cardiff Bay/Ely Estuary in the east to the Ogmore River in the west. As discussed in Chapter 4, the path provides opportunity for walking / cycling along 53km of the coastline.

7.26 The Pont Y Werin and Cardiff Barrage over the River Ely are also noteworthy strategic walking and cycling links between the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.

7.27 In terms of ongoing projects, 'Active Travel schemes' have been delivered throughout the Vale to improve opportunities for walking and cycling in several areas including Cowbridge, Llantwit Major, Penarth Heights, Lavernock Road / Cosmeston, Sully Road/St Joseph's School and South Road / Hayes Road / Sully Moors Road.[132]

7.28 In September 2014, the Welsh Government introduced the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 which makes it a legal requirement for local authorities in Wales to map and plan for suitable routes for active travel within certain settlements, as specified by Welsh Government. The Vale of Glamorgan Council submitted their Integrated Network Maps in November 2017, which set out the Authority's aspirations for improving active travel routes across the County over the next 15 years.

7.29 Also of note is the 'Nextbike' scheme which was launched in Penarth in 2020. There have been over 1,400 rentals across 5 docking stations between November 2020 and January 2021.[133] Docking stations have also been installed at Cosmeston and Sully with plans for 2 stations in Dinas Powys.

7.30 There is also an E-Bike hire scheme in the Vale of Glamorgan, which is the first to be launched in Wales[134]. E-Bike Docking stations have been installed at:

  • Windsor Road, Penarth.
  • The Esplanade, Penarth.
  • Penarth Train Station.
  • Cosmeston Country Park.
  • Llandough Hospital; and
  • The Barrage.

7.31 In addition to this, the Council plan to install E-Bike docking stations at:

  • Sully.
  • Dinas Powys.
  • Cogan; and
  • Stanwell, Penarth.

Figure 7.2 Sustainable transport – public transport

Map illustrating the locations of railway stations and bus stops in the Vale of Glamorgan. Railway stations are located at Barry Docks, Barry Island, Barry, Cadoxton, Cogan, Dinas Powys, Dingle Road, Eastbrook, Llantwit Major, Penarth and Rhoose (Cardiff International Airport). Bus stops are dispersed across the Vale of Glamorgan, but concentrated in Penarth, Barry, Rhoose and St Athan.

Figure 7.3 Sustainable transport – active travel routes (2022)

Map showing active travel routes within the Vale of Glamorgan. Active travel routes (local) are shown in Cowbridge, Llantwit Major, Rhoose, Barry and Penarth. The National Cycle Network runs through the southern Vale, and the Coastal Path runs the length of the Vale of Glamorgan coastline. Public Rights of Way throughout the Vale of Glamorgan are also highlighted.

Travel to work

7.32 Detailed commuting patterns provide an insight into where residents of the Vale of Glamorgan travel to work and where those who travel to the Vale of Glamorgan for work live.

7.33 In 2020, most residents, 28,200 lived and travelled to work in the Vale of Glamorgan, 22,500 residents travelled to Cardiff for work and smaller numbers commuted to Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) for work. Interestingly between 2019 and 2020 the numbers of people resident in the Vale of Glamorgan recording that they worked in England or outside Wales fell significantly, this may illustrate the impact of the pandemic on commuting and the move towards home working. Similarly, of those commuting to the Vale of Glamorgan for work, there were falls in the numbers travelling from Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff, but a growth in those travelling from Bridgend. Although data is not available on the types of transport used for commuting in the Vale of Glamorgan, it is likely that transport in the Vale of Glamorgan reflects national trends with the majority of journeys being made by car.

Future baseline

7.34 Sustainable transport improvements are anticipated locally in conjunction with increased peak rail and bus services as outlined in the LTP, and the forthcoming emerging Regional Transport Plan (RTP). The RTP will bring a regional focus to the implementation of the Wales Transport Strategy, recognising the diverse economic and social geography of the wider area. This will help deliver enhanced mobility for both residents and visitors, and support greater accessibility to jobs and services.

7.35 It is considered that that future transport infrastructure put forward as part of the Cardiff City Region Deal investment plans will allow Vale of Glamorgan residents to more easily travel within the region to access opportunities and similarly for people to easily access the Vale for employment and for leisure opportunities. Noteworthy in this respect is the South Wales Metro and Barry Transport Hub Scheme.

7.36 Further emphasis will also be placed on active travel in accordance with the delivering the aspirations of the Active Travel (Wales) Act, supporting walking and cycling as the normal choice for shorter journeys.

7.37 Support for active travel reflects changing attitudes in light of the recent pandemic, which has brought about significant change in many people's working and commuting habits. The Welsh Government's commitment for encouraging home and distance working to continue post pandemic will benefit strategic road infrastructure and reduce the effects of congestion especially during peak commuting times.

7.38 While an uptake of active travel may be seen, residents who continue to commute longer distance to work may also display more preference for private rather than public transport forms in the short- to medium-term, recognising the constraints of social distancing. This is likely to be exacerbated in areas of the Vale where access and frequency of public transport is poor.

7.39 Access to transport varies across the Vale of Glamorgan with more rural areas of the Western Vale identified by the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) 2019 Access to Services Domain as having poorer access to public transport than more urban areas of Barry and the Eastern Vale. It is estimated that Llandow / Ewenny Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) in the Western Vale has a public travel return time to pharmacies, food shops and GP surgeries of almost 6 times longer than that of Stanwell 2 LSOA in the Eastern Vale. For these more rural areas, without improvements to public transport linkages, having access to private transport options, in particular access to a car, becomes key to be able to access services.

Key issues

7.40 The context review and baseline information informed the identification of several key issues (problems and opportunities):

  • It is recognised that the emerging RTP, in addition to schemes outlined in the LTP, will help to alleviate road traffic issues associated with future development in the authority. However, it is also recognised that road infrastructure has historically struggled to keep pace with increases in road vehicles, therefore congestion and capacity issues are likely to be exacerbated to some extent by future growth.
  • Access and frequency of public transport is varied across the Vale of Glamorgan, within rural services being less frequent than those within urban settlements
  • Currently, the highest proportion of residents commute via car, reflecting the semi-rural nature of the Vale. The replacement LDP will need to consider the impact of Covid-19 on travel patterns, particularly in relation to public transport usage, as well as the shift seen to working from home.
  • Opportunities for modal shift are identified through the South Wales Metro Project[135], which includes significant expansion and enhancement of the rail network, bus services and cycle and pedestrian networks. Growth should be coordinated with strategic transport infrastructure improvements to maximise opportunities for connected and accessible development.
  • In terms of active travel the Vale has a vast walking and cycle network, which includes 55km of PRoW and NCN route 88, connecting residents across settlements within and outside of the Vale. However it is noted that the NCN is piecemeal beyond the main south east settlement. Tailored 'active travel schemes' are being explored and implemented throughout the Vale including Cowbridge and Llantwit Major.

ISA objectives

7.41 Considering the key issues discussed above, it is proposed that the ISA should include the following objective and assessment questions:

ISA objectives

Assessment questions – will the policy/proposal help to:

Increase sustainable transport use and reduce the need to travel.

  • Reduce the need to travel through sustainable patterns of land use and development?
  • Provide opportunities to improve frequency and availability of public transport services particularly for rural communities?
  • Encourage modal shift to more sustainable and active forms of travel, such as walking and cycling and use of public transport?
  • Support opportunities for modal shift as set out in the South Wales Metro Project?
  • Prioritise sustainable transport options over car use where possible, including provision of adequate cycle parking and storage options?
  • Enable transport infrastructure improvements?
  • Deliver and where necessary improve active travel networks?
  • Support the uptake of low carbon transport such as E-bikes and electric buses?
  • Contribute towards the EV charging network?
  • Facilitate working from home and remote working?
  • Provide improvements to and/ or reduce congestion on the existing highway network?
  • Contribute to green infrastructure networks?

 


[125] Vale of Glamorgan Council (2015): 'Local Transport Plan 2015-2030', [online] available to access via this link

[126] Ibid

[127] Ibid

[128] BBC News (2021): 'Cardiff Airport: M4 to A48 link road funds denied', [online] available to access via this link

[129] Ibid.

[130] Vale of Glamorgan Council (no date): 'Greenlinks Community Transport', [online] available to access via this link

[131] Transport for Wales (2022): 'Cardiff South', [online] available to access via this link

[132] Ibid.

[133] Ibid.

[134] Vale of Glamorgan Council (no date): 'E-Bike Hire Scheme', [online] available to access via this link

[135] Welsh Government (no date): 'Rolling out our metro', [online] available to access via this link

 

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