Today the Times reports that Alnwick has been identified as one of the worst towns in the North-East for public transport. The article is based on a CPRE report called Transport Deserts: the absence of transport choice in England’s small towns. There is plenty of room for improvement in Alnwick’s public transport services, and nothing will happen without a noise, so it is good to see the issue highlighted.
At the same time it’s difficult to believe that Alnwick is really one of the worst towns for public transport in the North-East. In fact that’s not really what the CPRE report says. They do, though, identify Alnwick as one of half-a-dozen small settlements in Northumberland that are badly connected, and at risk of becoming a public transport desert. Others include Amble, Newbiggin and Seaton Delaval.
Poor choice of public transport results in social exclusion, increased cost of living, higher carbon emissions, difficulty accessing services such as education and healthcare, congestion and pollution, and increased pressure on the high street economy. Towns at a distance from large conurbations are most at risk of becoming a transport desert. However, the CPRE report contains a number of positive examples that prove this need not be the case.
We don’t doubt that Alnwick is at risk of becoming a transport desert, but it could become an oasis. So it’s worth reading the <full report>