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Plan not good enough

Swindon residents who care about cutting carbon emissions have until 23 September to help shape a crucial document that will determine the development of our town for years to come.

A revised draft of Swindon’s local plan is now out for public consultation. This hugely important document will decide how many houses get built and where they go. It will also decide whether Swindon gets on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

The Government says our planning system should deliver sustainable development, which means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. And it says local authorities have a vital role to play in achieving radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

But on that score, Swindon’s draft local plan is not good enough. An entire section on sustainable construction has been deleted. New Government guidance on how local authorities can make developers build more energy efficient buildings has been ignored. The section on transport—critical for cutting emissions—has been reduced from nine pages to one.

If you think we should be building energy-efficient homes and investing in low-carbon infrastructure, please make sure you have your say on the local plan. You can see and comment on the draft at Click on Show More Services, then Consultations, engagements and surveys, then local plan review. The documents are also available at Swindon’s main libraries.

Jane Milner-Barry, Councillor for Old Town and East Wichel

Instructors’ green light

I was dismayed to read the correspondence from your reader David Collins (SA, Aug 7), the tenet of which was to once more lambast Swindon councillors for traffic movement within the town. Whereas he, quite rightly in my opinion, praises the Magic Roundabout for its ability to keep large volumes of traffic moving, he seems not to understand why it does so. The reason it is so efficient is that the traffic moves slowly. The way it is laid out in a relatively small area, prevents drivers from picking up excessive speed. It is those obsessed with high speed that cause tail-backs in a particular direction. At major junctions slower is quicker, something that the speed obsessed find difficult to comprehend. I would place David Collins firmly within that group of motorists when he openly confesses in a newspaper that he was speeding behind a police patrol car!

As a driving instructor, I am of the opinion, along with many of my colleagues that the Greenbridge Roundabout and Junction 16 of the M4 are now much easier to teach and use with their new layouts. Also there are rarely any hold-ups. The traffic lights prevent any one direction having the advantage over the others. If David Collins considers that the people who designed them are incompetent then maybe he would be kind enough to place his designs in the public domain so that we may see his superior thinking.

I was delighted to read in the SA recently that the large Stratton Roundabout by the White Hart pub is soon to be upgraded, and even more delighted to learn that it is to be controlled by traffic lights. The high speeds that some drivers think are acceptable on this junction is simply staggering. I would recommend anyone using the raised footpath to stop and look down and witness the speeds of the drivers who believe they are flowing freely, whilst others who are trapped in the queue they cause are, frustrated and tempted to go.’

Neil Maw, Weedon Road, Swindon