LINI considers that one of the main challenges to transport in Northern Ireland is the continued acceptance and policy promotion of rural dwelling, despite the lack of rural employment. Northern Ireland has traditionally had a significant rural population, however this was composed predominately of those peoples whose livelihood/ employment was associated with the rural environment. Nowadays the majority of our rural population avails of the private car and ever increasing road network to travel to other locations for employment, school, services etc. There is little benefit to the countryside or rural communities and economy, and the impact of roads on the environmental and social quality of local life in the countryside is largely negative. Further, all our urban centres, from small rural villages to the main cities, continue to suffer and deteriorate as a result of continued dispersal of our population into rural settings; it is simply not possible to have thriving urban centres with a commuting population.LINI notes that the granting of permission for building new homes and businesses in the countryside should be integral with bearing responsibility for the impact of the travel habits embedded within such development. For instance, rural housing should not be permitted to increase without parallel increase to public transport services. If the government is unwilling to provide one additional bus service for every 10 houses permitted in the countryside, the proposed houses should not be granted permission. Each planning application (even for individual homes in the countryside) should be required to submit a shortened environmental impact assessment which includes transport assessment, indicating how that development will function. If it is demonstrated by the applicant that the development cannot function without full reliance on the private vehicle and a particular number of travel miles, that development should not be permitted. It is often stated that construction favours the economy, but LINI recognises that construction which does not recognise the transport impact of its embodied lifestyle is unsustainable and an economic burden. Streets and roads are for all, and all means for the transport of and for people. If streets and roads are not first accessible to the most fundamental means of transport (walking) then they do not serve their purpose. All roads must be connected to the place which they pass through. LINI challenges DRD to give pedestrians priority on all roads, and to develop a hierarchy where some roads would also be accessible to cycles, some also to horses, some also to vehicles etc. The local would benefit, a sense of place and value in environmental and social wellbeing would result. The economy would benefit.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2011|