Being effective in making a difference requires working in partnership. It’s not just because you can draw at more resources, experience and knowledge but because by getting more organisations on board you will need to take account of their different needs and views, making you and your proposals more representative.
Different organisations and indeed people are likely to offer different levels of support in terms of the following roles:
- partners are those organisation involved in a project or initiative that make strategic decisions and are responsible for them
- sponsors provide funds or other significant benefits in kind
- volunteers offer time whether on a regular or one-off basis
- supporters may only be able or willing to add their name
It can be good to offer different levels of involvement so that you can maximise involvement: even just having a range of local businesses, voluntary organisations and local councillors coming out in support can give you much more legitimacy.
If you have time, research a potential partner or supporter to see what might motivate them to become involved. For example, if they have a website see if you can find if they have any public commitments or policies. Be prepared to reconsider who you might work with as your plans develop.
Politicians and local councillors
Getting your local MP or councillor on board with your initiative or campaign can raise its profile and gain useful influence where it matters. They may also be able to suggest other people and groups you could work with. In some councils there is a cabinet with one councillor responsible for transport issues, in others there will be a number of councillors on a committee covering transport. It’s worth trying to find out which elected official(s) is or are making the key decisions on transport.
You can find which MP and councillors represent you by looking up your postcode at www.writetothem.com
You can find information about your local police force and offences in your area at the national police portal: www.police.uk. Unfortunately the crime maps do not currently show road traffic offences, such as speeding or careless driving.
Data on road traffic crashes is collected by the police and map showing the data from 2000 to 2010 has been published independently here by ITO World: http://map.itoworld.com
Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, also known as Community Safety Partnerships, bring together police, other emergency services and local authorities to tackle crime, including the fear of crime. Bad driving is often illegal driving and some partnerships cover it within their priorities but others do not. Check local strategies and plans to find out more. There are other 300 in England alone so contact your local authority or local police force to find out further details.
In England outside of major cities, local government is normally split into two tiers of county and district councils, though in some areas these levels have been merged into unitary councils. The upper tier produces a Local Transport Plan (LTP), while the lower tier produces a local plan, covering land use. In national parks, the local National Parks Authority will be in charge of land use planning.
In cities it is more complicated and there may be a unitary council. Or there may be borough council together with an Integrated Transport Authority (ITA - formerly Passenger Transport Executive), Combined Authority and or a directly elected mayor. ITAs and combined authorities will normally produce a single LTP for the whole metropolitan area. In London Transport for London implements the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, while each London borough has a Local Implementation Plan. There is more information about LTPs in the Making your plan section.
In some areas, such as where there is a unitary city council surrounded by a county council, authorities have drawn up joint LTPs. A joint LTP need not cover a whole local authority area, so could be an good idea where local travel patterns (such as travel to work areas) or national park boundaries do not fit with local authority boundaries.
Your local authority may have other useful data, for example it might have researched various transport proposals in your area that it has not had sufficient funding to implement. It can be difficult to obtain this sort of information unless you know who to ask and what for. You could try to find out through officials, searching for relevant committee reports on your council’s website or making a request for information in writing. Campaigners in Totnes produced a list of traffic studies to help inform their campaigning.
Table showing structure of local government
|Upper tier||Local Transport Plans, highways, non-rail passenger transport||County||Unitary||In some areas: Combined Authority or Integrated Transport Authority|
|Lower tier||Land use planning, parking, rights of way, taxis, air pollution *||District||[merge with cell above]||(Metropolitan) borough council ** or city council|
|Local council, or simply ‘parish council’ as shorthand||Defra: list of powers and duties of parish councils||Parish, town, neighbourhood||As rural or urban||Rarely, Parish Council, and following Localism Act 2011 possibly ward or neighbourhood forum.|
* The Government is considering transferring responsibilities for air pollution and taxi to upper tier councils.
** In practice Borough Councils in urban areas pass their transport powers up to city-region level authorities.
Parishes and neighbourhoods
The lowest tier in local government can range from a parish council serving a hamlet and controlling a precept of a few thousand pounds per year to a town council for tens of thousands of people and controlling a precept of over a million pounds per year. There are about 8,500 parish and town councils but because they do not tend to exist in urban areas, only cover a third of the population.
In previous centuries there was much more power and responsibilities at the local level. Road maintenance, for example, was the responsibility of the parish. Schemes in some counties have reintroduced ‘parish lengthsmen’, who undertake basic maintenance on roads, or rangers on cycle routes. By having local knowledge, such as which drains are prone to blocking or which trees overhang, they are better able to keep the highway network in good repair.
The Localism Act 2011 increased powers for parish councils through a ‘general power of competence’ and gave them neighbourhood planning powers. For areas where there is no parish or town council a neighbourhood forum can be set up to make neighbourhood plans. The full implications of these reforms are not yet clear, particularly in relation to transport, but there is scope for considerable innovation.
- CLG: introduction to neighbourhood planning
- CPRE: Planning Help [add link to neighbourhood section in new website]
- National Association of Local Councils
Besides CPRE, other national organisations with an interest in transport issues may have local groups or volunteers in your area. Look out for:
- Campaign for Better Transport - formerly Transport 2000
- Civic societies, often attached to Civic Voice
- CTC - formerly the Cyclists Touring Club
- Local cycle groups, including those part of Cyclenation
- Friends of the Earth
- Living Streets - formerly the Pedestrians Association
- Railfuture - formerly the Railway Development Society
- Ramblers - promoting walking, particularly on rights of way
- Sustrans - sustainable travel charity with local office rather than volunteers
You should not simply seek to work with groups that have a transport or environmental focus. You should also consider involvement with:
- trip generators such as visitor attractions, schools, businesses, as they may already have produced a travel plan or be able to help secure funding for a transport improvement
- bus and train operators
- neighbourhood watch groups
- residents’ groups
- local Women’s Institute
- farmers and landowners
- businesses and trade associations such as chambers of commerce
- local churches and faith groups
- local environmental organisations
- student unions
- local sports clubs and interest groups.
Community website http://yoursquaremile.co.uk provides a list of local organisations that have registered with it and their websites.