Report on Public Meeting about Transport in Chichester

23 July 2017

As part of our ongoing campaign to promote alternative forms of transport to give people real choice about how they travel, Isabel Thurston worked with Jenny Cole of the group Chichester Moves On, to organise a public meeting held on 18 July in Chichester. The main speaker was Richard Wellings, Principal Transport Officer from Nottingham, which is now one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the UK, leading the way in cutting down on fossil fuel emissions with solutions such as electric and bio-gas fuelled buses, workplace parking schemes and cycle freeways. Richard gave an inspiring presentation which showed that although much larger than Chichester, many of the lessons learned in Nottingham could be applied locally. Simple, yet vital messages, such as not undercutting bus fares with cheaper parking, came across clearly. Such ideas are important for shifting the culture of car driving to one of combining different forms of transport so that the roads become less congested for everyone. The strategies are thought through to include the whole community. The City Council run their own fleet of buses, to fill the gaps left by commercial bus operators, and this ensures that all residents live within 400 metres of a bus stop. There are many sources of funding to help with ‘greening’ transport and councils should develop expertise in applying for these.
For a more local angle, Chichester resident Bill Sharp presented some ideas about future transport possibilities. Many new developments, such as automated driverless cars and small electric ‘pods’, may mean that traffic will flow more easily – reducing peak time congestion. The key message of Bill’s talk was that we should think very carefully before allowing hundreds of millions of pounds to be spent building new roads, when these may be redundant within the next decade due to the latest technology becoming mainstream.
A key aim is to get our green message across to local planners, and show that there is local support for this approach  so we were delighted that at least one City Councillor, and a key decision maker from the County Council attended the meeting.