The direction of travel

A recent appeal against the refusal of planning permission for eight houses in rural Kent (DCS Number 400-022-777) has allowed us a glimpse of the future, the day when, just maybe, our travel habits are not polluting the atmosphere with noxious gases. Whilst the inspector dismissed the appeal, it is interesting to note the direction of travel.

The inspector reasoned that vehicle trips into the village from the appeal site would be short in duration. He considered, however, that they would occur frequently due to the absence of safe alternative means of travel. As such, he found that the vehicle trips associated with eight households would soon add up, with the associated carbon emissions.

The inspector acknowledged that the impact would diminish as combustion engines are phased out and replaced by ultra-low emission and electric vehicles. Nevertheless, he anticipated that the houses, if approved, were likely to be constructed in the short term and considered that it was unlikely that the majority of future occupants would use these vehicles. Accordingly, this could not be relied upon as a means of mitigating the inaccessible location of the site in the short to medium term, he determined. Nonetheless, this represents an encouraging view of our travel habits in the long term.

In an interesting twist, the inspector considered that regardless of what vehicle was used by future occupants, the challenging accessibility of the site to services and facilities would not promote the social and health benefits conducive to safe and convenient opportunities for walking and cycling.

Section 4.1114 of DCP Online concerns sustainability policies in development control practice.