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CPRE Cheshire response to Cheshire West and Chester's Local Transport Plan 4 initial consultation

28th February 2024

Between December 2023 and January 2024, Cheshire West and Chester Council launched an initial consultation on a new local transport plan.

In our response, we applaud the Council’s starting point of the three pillars of sustainability – the environment, the economy, and society – and contribute a number of important comments that we hope will help strengthen the policy as it is developed.

Section by section, our response includes the following:

Executive Summary

We note a number of additional issues that should be listed in the summary, including improving air quality, providing easy access to the countryside, open spaces, essential services and leisure facilities, and bolstering the rural economy.

Key policies

We highlight relevant policies that are missing from the current table, including the Environment Act 2021, the Levelling up Act 2023, and the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy 2 (CWIS) by Active Travel England 2023.


While we welcome the Council’s stated determination to tackle climate change, achieve net zero carbon emissions and improve air quality, we note that we don’t see any reference in the plan to important key environmental issues now covered by national legislation. These include planning issues such as the new requirements for biodiversity net gain and for environmental outcome reports (which are replacing environmental impact assessments).

We also note that while the document flags up decarbonisation strategies coming from central government and Transport for the North (TfN), both government and TfN continue to promote environmentally damaging road schemes and to champion air travel.

Society and place

In this section, we highlight the importance of cross-referencing different strands of work being carried out within the Council. A key strand at the moment is the developing Borough Plan. The consultation draft for this plan stated that the top three quality of life factors rated by participants so far were:

  • the condition of roads, pavements and cycleways
  • being able to influence decisions that affect them
  • the level of crime

Each of these are pertinent when making decisions about transport policy.

You can read CPRE Cheshire’s response to the recent borough plan consultation here


We question the need for the section on the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), given that the government is stopping funding for LEPs from April 2024 with functions being transferred to local authorities. This section should instead reference whatever internal plans for economic support the Council is putting in place.

Transport and connectivity


We are reassured that the Council is taking on board the DfT document ‘Future of Transport’, which sets out to help local authorities unlock the benefits of technology and innovation in rural transport. But we are concerned that the section quotes the five year old national Transport Investment Strategy ‘Moving Britain Ahead’ rather than the more recent ‘Network North: Transforming British Transport’. We also explain that although there is much in this latter document that we do support, we do not believe that its promise of funding 70 road schemes ( across the UK) is a sustainable way forward. 


Here, we refer back to the Borough Plan feedback showing that road maintenance is a top priority for residents.

On buses, we commend the council’s recognition that their bus improvement plan is not working as intended and needs bolstering.

On trains, we would also like to see a mention of improved access to railway stations, particularly rural ones.

For walking and cycling, we suggest a commitment to establish a network of Quiet Lanes and off-road Greenways.

The Evidence Base

Promoting healthy communities

We welcome the breadth of demographic information provided here, the efforts being made to understand where transport poverty exists and how to tackle social exclusion, and the resolve to seek ‘attractive sustainable alternatives’ to car use in rural areas.

Supporting a thriving economy

CPRE agrees with the key challenges identified for urban centres. We argue for the adoption of a Smart Growth strategy, to look at reallocating some areas currently designated for retail, commercial and employment use to residential or other use. This would reduce and consolidate those areas and bring in more residents to provide trade for the remaining businesses.

Delivering efficient networks

We note the assessment of the difficulty faced by people with mobility or visual impairments in accessing the Rights of Way network. This needs to be addressed.

We argue against locating any possible new park and ride sites on Green Belt or on open spaces where there would be harm to rights of way, wildlife, or important habitats.

We welcome:

  • the ‘School Streets’ and 15 minute neighbourhood initiatives.
  • the selective introduction of 20mph schemes.
  • the search for measures other than road building (e.g. improved junction technology and sustainable transport alternatives) to deal with congestion.
  • the Council’s determination to increase levels of cycling and walking.

Protecting environments

We note that unlike many other councils, CW&C seems determined to steer away from environmentally damaging transport measures. This gives us hope that this plan will prove to be a genuinely sustainable strategy.

More information

CPRE Cheshire response to the Cheshire West and Chester Local Transport Plan 4 consultation

Cheshire West and Chester future local transport plan information