Items for the Agenda on critical issues with Hereford Council’s Transport Strategic Phasing Study
Core Strategy Crisis
Herefordshire Council’s SATURN traffic model does not reflect reality, any lay-person can see it is flawed
Emissions data based on traffic modelling is plainly misleading and not fairly accounted
Cost-benefit analysis based on erroneous traffic model is both misleading and full costs are hidden from public
The Transport Strategic Phasing Study 2014 is used by Council to justify the implementation of the Hereford Western Relief Road but it has some very obvious errors which we should address through public consultation.
- The SATURN traffic modelling clearly does not include the motorway relief traffic that would flow as soon as the route was opened it only uses local growth projections. The SATURN model should reflect the duelling of the A465 to Abergavenny by 2020 and increased HGV traffic when fuel costs and travel times are improved from Wales to the Midlands. The National Motorway network is already suffering from M5/M6 congestion so the original predictions that relief is needed by 2030 are already out of date. If the public were presented with the true facts about motorway traffic, how would they feel about Council’s destructive plans to turn the A49 into a motorway for HGVs and the unspoilt countryside around Hereford into a series of giant lay byes and service stations? Ask about the precision and accuracy of Councils traffic modelling it is not an exact science.
- The CO2 analysis for environmental benefits is both misleading and unacceptable:
- Firstly the financially analysis is total flawed because you cannot reflect a 60 year project value with a present value (PV) model. We know this because we have experience in advising Governments on assets sales at an international level. Governments selling long term assets would not accept this valuation which only reflects 10-15 years out. Using present value analysis is a false representation of the long term impact. Council should be forced to use valuation tools that reflect the long term damage not just the next ten years over a 60 year time frame. It is deliberately misleading the public! Asset valuations for long term projects need to include annual multiples for ratio analysis to reflect strategic values. We have first-hand experience in this. The PV method is both misleading the public and professionally inappropriate.
- Secondly the assumptions used to generate the data set are clearly wrong omitting any realistic motorway relief traffic volumes, which would generate far more CO2 emissions. Traffic volume on the A49 will increase with increase road capacity. This model is based on false data that any layman with common sense can spot a mile off. The experts must be on cloud nine. If this is following guidelines then guidelines condone misleading the public. So it is an inadequate valuation method on a bad data set…..
- Thirdly the analysis excludes emissions from the traded sector and just analyses the non-traded sector. Say a major oil refinery or power generator runs 100’s of HGV deliveries through the bypass from the Welsh refineries to the Midlands power stations. What happens if we exclude their emissions? The Traffic User Benefit Analysis (TUBA) analysis of road traffic pollution is both inaccurate because it excludes the traded sector HGV traffic flowing through the A49 in relief from the M5/M6 and the expected increase in volumes.
- The value for money analysis would not be accepted by any Government or merchant bank for the purpose of asset sales because the input data does not reflect the reality of the costs for the full project nor does it reflect the true costs on the environment and in human healthcare. The private sector would not accept these vague cost assumptions and bogus valuations so why should the public? The costs will be much, much higher on full design to include the numerous expected changes in scope and full mitigation costs. Who benefits most from these misleading financial representations? The infrastructure sector, national housebuilders, Balfour Beatty and its shareholders. Local Government is being led by the nose to slaughter, like a docile Hereford bullock. Wake up or your taxes are going way up.
- This development is facing risk of legal proceedings that could likely to lead to substantial delays to the implementation timescale. The consultation with the public is considered to be inadequate given the questionnaires were prepared and collated by interested parties. Council’s answers to public questions do not reflect on past planning mistakes but merely repeat the mantra ITS IN THE CORE STRATEGY. Well that is just not good enough. Ignore mass transit solutions for city congestion for 16 years at your peril. The world is changing and so must the plans for city development. This is not a post war expansion of concrete jungles. Council planners must provide modern solutions to an age-old problem, sustainable measures, and subsidies on sleek new public transport that competes with the car.
- The public distrust In Council management is compounded by their refusal to go back and request professional truly independent un-bias advice in order to answer the public’s simple questions. To make matters worse, Council is claiming ignorance on complex questions and failing to explain its answers in plain English. For example, what is the probability of motorway traffic doubling or trebling the A49 volumes within 5 years? Council Planners should know and have credible answers. It has happened on so many other road developments the statistics are at hand. Council should be cognisant of the impact of increased pollution on costs, not ignorantly waving arms and claiming its pure speculation. Cabinet must be held to account for the future detrimental effects of their plans, most notably the increase that will come in motorway traffic, healthcare costs and the increase in premature deaths from greater pollution in urban areas. Don’t let them get away with it!