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13th February, 2004


Friday 13:17

Consultant WSP has published the four remaining reports for the Bristol/Bath South Coast study on the study website today.

The reports are as follows: -

* Problems and Issues Report * Option Development and Appraisal Report * Final Report - Strategic Corridor * Final Report - The City of Bath

The objectives of the study were to :-

* examine the strategic transport movements on the north-west to south-east axis for both road and rail links between the south coast ports of Poole and Southampton through to the M4, and * address the problems relating to through traffic, and lorries in particular, passing through the World Heritage City of Bath

The reports will now be considered by the South West Regional Assembly and local transport authorities. The Regional Assembly and Bath and North East Somerset Council, who had both expressed their concerns about the proposal to detrunk the A36/A46 route between the M27 near Southampton and the M4 north of Bath, are to reconsider their positions in the light of the Study outcomes.

The main findings of the Study are that:-

* the use of the A36/A46 route is primarily intra-regional and as such, the decision to detrunk the route was appropriate * there is a case to increase the frequency and length of trains on the Bristol - Bath - Salisbury - Southampton line to tackle overcrowding and provide an attractive alternative to the car for travel between major settlements on the route * placing a congestion charge cordon around Bath city centre in conjunction with enlarged Park and Ride facilities is unlikely to remove the majority of the north-south through traffic, and lorries in particular, from the sensitive London Road and Bathwick Street areas * further work on the construction of a link road across the Avon Valley should be undertaken by Bath and North East Council * such a link has been shown to provide significant traffic relief to the World Heritage Site but would have significant environmental disbenefits in terms of the setting and views of Bath, which are probably only capable of partial mitigation * the benefits in terms of reduced traffic flow should be captured by extending civic space and / or improving public transport services, rather than simply allowing more traffic into the city * for Dorset, the A350 route northwards from Poole performs a primarily intra-regional function and because of the severe environmental constraints, any significant improvements to the route would be inappropriate.

Head of the Regional Transport Team for the Government Office for the South West, Peter Dawson, said:

"This study has undertaken a thorough review of the transport issues in the Bristol / Bath to South Coast corridor and assessed the likely impact of various interventions. Regarding the detrunking of the A36/A46, the report's findings are to be considered by the Regional Assembly and Bath and North East Somerset Council. It is hoped that they will be in a position to respond to ministers by May 2004, so that decisions can be made on the way forward to address the real transport problems in the corridor."

Notes to Editors

1. To view the reports go to 2. The full terms of reference for the study are available on request from Government News Network. 3. The Secretary of State announced details of the trunk road network on 7 April 1999. In December 2000, Roads Minister Lord Whitty decided the A36/A46 route between Bath and Southampton should be non-core. 4. Consultants WSP of Basingstoke, carried out the study.

Issued on behalf of the Government Office for the South West by Government News Network South West. For more information please contact Robin Miller on TEL: 0117 900 3559; FAX: 0117 900 3556; EMAIL:

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