Travel and Transport

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The beautiful South Hams conceals a guilty secret - over reliance on fossil fuels for both Transport and Energy. Carbon emissions linked to Transport have been calculated for all parishes, wards and districts in the UK (including the South Hams District as a whole) by the Exeter University Impact Tool Kit.

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There is indisputable evidence that:

Rural parishes in the South Hams suffer from gross disconnection to any public transport system causing heavy reliance on private transport.  This accounts for approximately 44 % of our carbon footprint as a whole in the South Hams. Solving this problem should be a priority but there does not appear to be a clear plan at District level to address this. Substantial investment in our public transport network is urgently needed.  

Of the 87,000 residents in the South Hams, 28% are over the age of 65 (24,360) and entitled to free bus passes - but the bus network does not extend to a convenient walking distance from their homes. This group generally make fewer long journeys and would benefit greatly from an improved network to reach local shops and health services.  This would take the risk out of journeys in narrow country lanes with potholes and no street lighting for 24,360 elderly people in the South Hams. If supermarket delivery vans can reach all postcodes…so can public transport!  The SHDC

The lack of investment by SHDC/DCC in public transport infrastructure is being subsidised by poorly-served households who are forced to invest in private transport although their cars are only used on average for one hour per day.

Electric cars and vans help lower fuel costs and  noise pollution, and avoid pumping out harmful pollutants.  SHDC/DCC  can help make electric vehicles (EV) a more attractive option for their residents by installing public charge points as quickly as possible to meet government targets earlier than 2030 .  There are only 34 fast EV charging points in the South Hams, which undermines consumer shift to all-EV cars. The government target for South Hams is 480 EV charging points by 2030.  In view of the fact that the IPCC advises leaders that we have a rapidly closing window and need to take action within the next two years - we need at least 200 new fast EV charging points in the South Hams in 2022 and 2023.  

Our generally affluent lifestyles in the South Hams means that many of us a Frequent Flyers and this accounts for an appalling 36% of our district's carbon emissions attributable to Transport. Greater awareness of the impact of our Transport choices is urgently needed so that our community is better informed to make environmentally sensitive choices.  The Carbon Savvy Carbon Savers Course is available from October 2022 and is a simple yet comprehensive way of raising awareness within community groups and organisations.  The Transition Streets initiative provides a really people-friendly manual for neighbours to use and enables them to find local solutions to issues such as Transport whilst we wait for the Councils to start delivering the investment in infrastructure we desperately need.

Local authorities need to do all they can to encourage residents to travel by cycling, e-bikes and walking, as well as public transport, in order to lower emissions and improve air quality.  Find out how other local councils in the UK are acting to reduce Transport footprints in their region

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