4.2 Low carbon travel

With low levels of access to public transport outside of the three towns and few dedicated cycle paths, much of the district is highly reliant on road transport. In fact, transport is responsible for 36% of the district’s carbon emissions. While there was a 12% fall in transport related emissions between 2005 and 2013, since then emissions have grown steadily and are now 8% higher than in 2013.  Encouraging people to swap their petrol or diesel vehicles for low emission vehicles and to use more sustainable modes of travel, such as walking, cycling, public transport or car-sharing, is critical to reversing this trend.

There are currently 107,700 vehicles on the district’s roads.  46% of these are fuelled by diesel, just 474 are (0.4%) are ultra low emission vehicles, although this is more than a 500% increase since 2011. By 2030, it is estimated there will be 38,577 electric vehicles on Wychavon’s roads, saving more than 69,439 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The district is reasonably well served by train services. Provision of public bus services across the district is limited and has reduced in recent years. Across Worcestershire the number of bus passenger journeys has fallen by more than four million over the last decade. Community transport solutions and car-sharing clubs are increasingly likely to become more viable ways of meeting local transport needs than new commercially run bus services.

Prior to Covid-19, less than 2% of adults travelled by bicycle three or more times a week for non-leisure purposes. During the Covid-19 lockdown, levels of cycling and walking appeared to increase significantly and we are keen to retain some of this modal shift going forward.

There is growing interest, and demand for, electric vehicles in the UK, prompted by increasing concern about air quality and climate change and by the Government’s announcement that it will ban new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.  However, the speed of uptake could be hampered by a lack of infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. 

In its ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, the Government acknowledges the key role of local authorities in facilitating the development of charging networks, particularly in relation to their responsibilities for local planning policy.  

We want there to be a comprehensive network of reliable and affordable electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities right across Wychavon so that nowhere in the district is any further than five miles from an easily accessible charging point.

There are a number of ways we can support the growth of low emission vehicles, from the direct provision of EV charging points and incentivising others to install them, to requiring new developments to incorporate EV infrastructure and identifying sites for potential EV filling stations. We will also need to engage with taxi drivers to encourage and support them to switch to low emission vehicles.

We have already:

  • Installed 24 electric vehicle charging points in our car parks across the district.
  • Provided an electric pool car for staff travel.
  • Encouraged the inclusion of electric vehicle charging points in community facilities funded through New Homes Bonus and Community Legacy Grants.
  • Funded community-led transport schemes including Norton-juxta-Kempsey community minibus service.
  • Completed a combined footpath and cycle way at Corporation Meadow, Evesham.
  • Worked with our waste contractors to trial a fully electric waste vehicle.

We will:

  • Reduce council-related staff travel through agile working and switch to lower emission vehicles for our small fleet.
  • Move all FCC fleet to low emission vehicles when technology and energy infrastructure permits.
  • Work with the other Worcestershire district councils to develop a taxi licensing policy to encourage the take-up of electric and other low emission vehicles and to discourage higher polluting older vehicles.
  • Deliver a programme of funding, mentoring and advice to improve and increase the range of community-based transport options available across the district, including the ticket to ride project, by 31 March 2023.
  • Ensure that cycling and walking options are an intrinsic part of all plans for new settlements in Wychavon.
  • Increase car parking provision at Droitwich Spa, Honeybourne and Pershore railway stations by 31 March 2024.
  • Improve connectivity between the railway stations and the towns and between Worcestershire Parkway and the surrounding areas by improving signage and piloting one or more bike hire schemes by 31 March 2022.
  • Promote an already established carpooling scheme, such as BlaBlaCar.
  • Appoint an active travel project officer to lead work with partners on new cycle routes and the development of cycling and walking plans by 31 March 2023.
  • Investigate a workplace parking levy offering discounts for low carbon transport initiatives, such as EV charge points, bike scheme, car sharing and renewable energy installations.
  • Promote the development of at least one electric forecourt in the district.
  • Review EV charging points in our own car parks and encourage and incentivise others to install them, including making installation of EV charging points a condition of grant funding for new community buildings and encouraging businesses and tourist destinations to consider installing EV charge points and to convert to lower emission vehicles.
  • Encourage Worcestershire County Council and other relevant bodies to support the delivery of safe cycling and walking routes and provision of appropriate local transport options to meet needs.