“Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free”

“Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free.

Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday.

Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the leftwing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign.

On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis, and introducing two new public holidays.

Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.

It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.

While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg has increasingly shown a progressive attitude to transport. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home. Commuters need only pay €2 (£1.78) for up to two hours of travel, which in a country of just 999 sq miles (2,590 sq km) covers almost all journeys.

Now, from the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/05/luxembourg-to-become-first-country-to-make-all-public-transport-free

Sidford Business Park: Traffic action group to reveal survey results at public meetings on 21 November 2018

Sidbury Traffic Action Group (STAG) is hosting a meeting in which the results of a traffic survey will be announced.

The survey focused on electronic speed and traffic movement and was part of ongoing concerns over drivers not sticking to the enforced speed limits.

Also at the meeting, the group will discuss the establishment of a speed watch group that will work in conjunction with the police.

There will be information about the group’s recent discussions with Devon County Council.

Finally, the group will reveal where it will go next in their pursuit for 20mph flashing signs.

The group launched a campaign in April urging people to ‘kill their speed and not villagers’.

Members of the group have concerns with cars breaking the speed limits in the town.

The meeting will take place in Sidbury Village Hall on November 21 at 2 and 7pm.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sidbury-traffic-action-group-to-reveal-survey-results-at-public-meeting-1-5781477

“Calls for removal of Sidford business park site in Local Plan are ‘unrealistic’, says Highways boss [Stuart Hughes]”

Owl says: Interestingly Hughes does not explain why the site was added at the very last minute and why officers and Tory councillors did not attempt to remove it BEFORE it went to the inspector when its inclusion had been highlighted by local people in time for remedial action ….. especially as Hughes is the area’s DCC councillor with responsibility for highways.

“Cllr Hughes said: “If the decision is appealed by the applicant then it will be considered by a planning inspector.

“It would however also allow representations to be made to the inspector on other elements such as flooding, AONB etc.”

Calls to change the Local Plan:

“Suggesting the land at Sidford should be taken out of the Local Plan is unrealistic, given the plan is already in place.

“A Local Plan inspector is not going to review a decision for an already ‘made plan’ that has been in effect for some time.

“By the time any refresh of the East Devon Local Plan is completed this matter will have most likely been decided and there should not be any false hope or expectation put forward that this will be any different.

“The simple truth is that the land allocation at Sidford should never have been included in the Local Plan.

“It came in as a late addition without full consideration of its suitability, particularly as other far more appropriate sites which were ‘brownfield’ should have been considered and were put forward at the early stages of the process of making the Local Plan.

“My personal suggested site would have been adjacent to the Garden Centre on the A3052. …”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/calls-for-removal-of-sidford-business-park-site-in-local-plan-are-unrealistic-says-highways-boss-1-5781382

Pity the children of Sidford

“Pollution from diesel vehicles is stunting the growth of children’s lungs, leaving them damaged for life, a major study has found.

The research, conducted with more than 2,000 school children in London, is the first such study in a city where diesel pollution is a significant factor, and has implications for cities around the world. It also showed that charges to deter polluting trucks from entering the city did reduce air pollution a little but did not reduce the harm to children’s lungs. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/14/diesel-pollution-stunts-childrens-lung-growth-london-study-shows

“Take business park land out of Local Plan say campaigners”

“Campaigners have called for land earmarked for a multi-million pound Sidford business park to be taken out of the Local Plan.

t follows East Devon District Council’s decision to throw out an application to build 8,445sqm of employment floor space on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The proposed development for the Two Bridges site received 255 comments of objection and 111 in support. A campaign group also submitted a petition to the council with 1,400 signatures opposing the plans.

Now campaigners are calling on council bosses to look at removing the area, earmarked for development, out the Local Plan, claiming it should have never been there in their first place.

The Herald understands the application could once again go to appeal following a response from East Devon District Council saying it would not be appropriate to respond to the campaigners’ comments.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “As we understand that this matter is now going to appeal, it would not be appropriate to make any comments about the status of the Local Plan.

“The campaigners can make their points direct to the Planning Inspector in support of the council’s decision to refuse.”

Councillor Marianne Rixson has spoken out on the reasons why the town should join her rallying call to pressure the authority to look at taking the site out of the Local Plan at the earliest opportunity.

The Local Plan

“When a Government inspector was examining the suitability of the site in 2014, county Highways failed to point out that the roads would not be able to cope with the traffic an industrial estate would bring. Highways only admitted their error in September 2016.

“After the draft Local Plan had been sent to the Inspector for final approval in 2015, district councillors realised they’d made a mistake and voted almost unanimously to try to remove it from the plan but no effort was made to explain to the Inspector the reasons why the site was unsuitable – consequently he had no option but to rule that the site should remain, subject to planning.”

Flooding issues:

“It is on a floodplain and flooding will inevitably get worse with climate change.

“The Two Bridges site is in zones 3A and two flood risk zones – yet another reason why this site is unsuitable.”

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB):

“England has 34 AONB all of which are supposed to have the highest rate of protection in law and Government policy.

“We should only build on AONB if there is an overwhelming need for a development. The owners’ plans for a business park were market driven so there isn’t any hard proof. Surely we need to know for sure that there is an overwhelming need for employment space in the Sid Valley before we destroy this AONB?

“I would advocate for the district and town councils to work together to look seriously at how we can attract good quality, well paid jobs into the valley and how we can most effectively locate them without encroaching into the AONB and where there is good transport infrastructure.

“We need to attract good quality, well paid jobs into the area. Surely we can do this without encroaching into the AONB and where there are better road links? Regrettably by mid November Sidmouth will have lost three banks and building societies. Far better to turn these buildings into offices, which would help to keep our town vibrant, rather than build new offices on the outskirts.

Roads:

“Traffic cannot cope on this narrow road as it is due to the bottlenecks and number of HGVs already using the A375 – it will not be able to cope with more.

“Highways now agree this is not suitable for HGVs. “For two lorries to pass you need 6.5 metres. The main access for business park would be School Street which has a pinch point of 4.77 metres. There are several points through Sidbury too where the road is less than 5.5m, including Sidbury Mill and Cotford Bridge.

“Surely there should be a weight restriction on this road?

“According to an FOI submitted by the Say No Sidford Business Park campaigners some 30,000 cars travelled along the road in one off-peak week in April.

“I’d like to call for a weigh restriction on these struggling roads.

Endangered Bats and Japanese knotweed:

“The Two Bridges site is an important wildlife site for species that are protected such as horseshoe bats, otters and dormice.

“Knotweed exterminators have been seen on the site – it takes several years to get rid of.

Light Pollution

“The Norman Lockyer Observatory is both historical and the home to an active amateur astronomical society.

It also has plans to build a £70,000 extension so more experiments can take place than ever before.

“The light from any business park there will have an impact on the night sky, which currently has semi rural dark skies status at Sidford.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/campaigners-reasons-why-sidford-business-park-land-should-not-be-in-eddc-local-plan-1-5772366

Exmouth infrastructure will not support 120 new homes says town council

“Exmouth’s infrastructure cannot support new 120 home development, town council claims.

The town council’s planning committee has refused to support a full application made by Taylor Wimpey for land at Pankhurst Close, Littleham.

At the meeting, councillors raised concerns about the impact the development could have on ‘already busy’ roads surrounding the site.

Councillors voted to object to the proposal which includes the associated demolition of a disused industrial building.

They argued there was inadequate infrastructure to support it and that it would represent a loss of employment land.

Councillor Fred Caygill, who is the deputy chairman of the committee, said the developer would be ‘better served’ combining this project with its nearby Plumb Park site where more than 260 homes are currently being built.

He added: “If this development was to go ahead, I feel it would be better served if it joined up with Plumb Park so you had a continuous through-route so at least you’ve got access for emergency vehicles .

“You’ve got a traffic flow system rather than bottle necks.

“A lot of people who buy houses these days are both working with two cars and as we know a lot of employment is into Exeter and surrounding industrial estates.

“We’ve got lots of industry in terms of estates so there is a considerable amount of people moving into the area.

“The traffic system is going to get worse and also the parking within that estate.

“I feel a through-road will be better.”

Cllr Brian Toye said this development would only put more ‘stress’ on the area’s existing infrastructure.

“This does nothing to address the problem with traffic we have in Littleham Road,” he said.

“The problem is people are going to find rat-runs through the estates to get up to the new Dinan Way extension.”

Cllr Maddie Chapman also raised concerns about the impact of removing asbestos from the site.

She said it should be moved especially during the day.

“It should be at a quiet time, late evening, and take it off site,” she said.

A final decision on the application will be made at a later date, yet to be confirmed by the planning authority, East Devon District Council.”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/council-opposes-plan-for-120-homes-in-pankhurst-close-1-5766553