Guildford Town being in a gap in a river valley, surrounded by hills, and areas of significant landscape value particularly to the south has major issues in expanding its transport infrastructure. There has been discussion on supplementing the A3 with a Tunnel. Extrapolating from costs for the Hindhead Tunnel shows a tunnel of an equivalent standard t from Burpham to Compton would cost in the region of £1.5Bn to £2Bn. An investment on this scale whilst welcome would not be a total solution. Solving traffic flows North South through the town is a issue and a upgraded A3 is likely to attract more traffic through the Town and Urban area.
Government spending for the immediate future is likely to be concentrated in the north of the country and also supporting the continued Health and Social Service costs to manage the Covid Pandemic over the next few years. The Society is doubtful if major sums for investment will be forthcoming in the future. It is likely thatGuildford will have to adapt and use existing transport infrastructure more effectively as part of a greener future.
The Government has set out several green ambitions for the future e.g. banning Petrol Car Sales in 2030. They will also ultimately need to tackle the annual income of £40Bn disappearing from Petrol Tax as cars are electrified. It is also notable that Petrol Tax has been frozen since 2011 whilst public transport fares have continued to rise.
The Society Transport Group has considering many of these issues and has now documented ‘Some Thoughts for Transport in Guildford’. We believe there are a number of initiatives that could be considered to reduce traffic in the town centre, enable Active Travel (Cycling and Walking) and make Public Transport more effective.
Probably our most contentious proposal is to consider local road pricing, integrated with smart card technology to charge for Parking, Trains, Buses, ‘cordon’ access to areas of the town etc. Smart card technology can vary road pricing by time of day, type of road, vehicle class and emission levels. This is an approach that has been adopted in Freiburg, our twin town.
We have developed some preliminary ideas on how a scheme might work in Guildford see presentation attached below.
Nationally, with the rise of electric vehicles, we are likely to see a scheme that replaces fuel duty with a system of road pricing that is likely to vary by time of day, type of road, vehicle class and emission levels. The government has protected motorists by freezing the fuel levy for many years. Potentially the Department for Transport may take the implementation of road pricing as an opportunity to price transport rationaly in the country including environmenatal costs.
Help us make Guildford better
We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.
Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.
Getting involved allows the society to continue its work. We welcome new members, from every age and background. Membership provides an opportunity for you to contribute to the continued health of the town and surrounding area, and to meet other people who care about Guildford.