Bradford District Plan: Fancy decoration around a poisoned chalice?

The District Plan includes policies on transport, the environment, and a section on the ‘Canal Road Corridor’. So Bradford Shipley Travel Alliance commented with our focus on that ‘corridor’ and our concerns on health, safety and averting climate catastrophe. We made it clear that our response did not distract from comments that any of our supporting organisations may make.

We applauded the policy for 15-minute neighbourhoods with all services close to housing developments. We welcomed the policies favouring housing developments without increasing car traffic, and the policy for carbon neutrality by 2038. All were all positive and necessary. But there seem to be major contradictions between these strategic policies and the current plans for Canal Road, which were drawn up a dozen years ago under different priorities.

We said that “The Plan’s strategic priorities should be defended against contrary measures in current plans, not tucked around them like fancy decoration around a poisoned chalice.”

The District Plan does not temper or alter the Canal Road scheme in order to meet the new priorities. The housing developments in Bolton Woods have no conditions to reduce car travel, no conditions to insist on car clubs, active travel (bikes and walking), or buses. The plan protects a route for creation of extra traffic capacity between Bradford and Baildon (the Shipley Eastern Relief Road). It sees Canal Road and Valley Road becoming “a streamlined high-capacity route”. These plans fly in the face of the Council’s support for Carbon Emissions Reductions that require a significant reduction in car traffic. The scheme incorporated into the District Plan puts more pressure on the traffic bottleneck of Shipley rather than reduces it.

Isn’t it poor planning to declare the destination is one place, traffic reduction and sustainable development, but accept without comment projects that will instead take us to somewhere else? 

The full responses from BSTA are at

Shipley Town Council’s gave an extensive response to the District Plan, which can be read here: It included a comment on the road plan between Bradford and Shipley: “We are concerned about the impact of the Bradford-Shipley Route Improvement Scheme on Shipley. This road scheme is designed to increase road carrying capacity on Canal, Valley and Otley Roads and as a result will, through induced demand encourage more traffic onto the roads. This increase in traffic is highly likely to have a specific negative impact on Shipley. It will increase congestion, air and noise pollution as well as rat-running and will have a negative impact on community wellbeing through community severance caused by wide, congested roads.”

BSTA ways of working – proposal for comment by 21 March 2021

Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance (BSTA) is made up of (a) organisations joining it, which each have a member who passes news between the organisation’s members and BSTA, and (b) individuals who have signed up for the BSTA newsletter, for example on the website.

BSTA will work by consensus, based on its founding statement:

Any new road scheme between Bradford and Shipley must result in:

  • Significantly improved air quality and safety in all residential areas affected by the proposed scheme, including for all schools.
  • A response to the climate emergency including reduced carbon emissions, increased investment in public transport, walking and cycling, and less motor traffic overall.

We request that no further consultation goes ahead without information that shows how the intended benefits of the scheme will be guaranteed.

Actions within the founding statement can be made in the name of the Alliance by its organising team. That team currently is in practice Ludi Simpson, Dave Robison and Kath Jackson. The team will be added to by anyone who wishes to volunteer from member organisations or individuals who have signed up to the Alliance.

Actions that go beyond the founding statement will be necessary to respond to the progress of the road scheme. Proposals for such actions will be made by the organising team, and circulated to member organisations with a deadline for comment, usually at least a week but this may depend on the nature of the proposal. Lack of comment will be taken as approval. Any proposed changes to a proposal will be negotiated by the organising team.

Please comment below, or by email to Thank you!


BSTA is not an organisation with a constitution and elected officers. It would need to be constituted in this way if it were to handle money, apply for funding and so on, though it could also do these things at the moment by relying on the facilities of any one of its members.

At 4th March 2021 there were 13 organisations in the Alliance as listed below, and 22 other individuals signed up to the newsletter.

Shipley Veg on the Edge, Friends of the Earth Baildon & Shipley, Clean Air Bradford, St Paul’s Church, Shipley and Saltaire Living Streets, Saltaire Women’s Institute, Norwood Neighbourhood Association, XR Shipley & Bradford, Shipley Town Council, Shipley Ward and Shipley Constituency Labour Party, Green Party Shipley, Keighley and Shipley Liberal Democrats. All three Shipley councillors to Bradford District Council (Vick Jenkins, Martin Love and Kevin Warnes) support the Alliance.

Bradford Shipley Travel Alliance has thirteen organisations and is growing

Shipley Town Council, Norwood Neighbourhood Association, Bradford and Shipley XR and Saltaire Women’s Institute are the latest to add their voices to the concerns on how the Bradford-Shipley traffic scheme is unfolding.

Please sign up as an individual and think whether your community organisation might also. You will get occasional newsletters and can add your views and weight to the consultation with Bradford Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The currently ambiguous aims of the road scheme mean a likely increase in urban traffic, encouraging extra travel by car at a time when all levels of government have declared a climate emergency that calls for less traffic. Safety issues including high air pollution levels in residential areas and especially around schools trouble us too. The BSTA will shortly be repeating its request for much more information about these aspects of the scheme, calling for guarantees of considerably less pollution than at present.

The organisations joining the Alliance so far are Shipley Veg on the Edge, Friends of the Earth Baildon & Shipley, Clean Air Bradford, St Paul’s Church, Shipley and Saltaire Living Streets, Saltaire Women’s Institute, Norwood Neighbourhood Association, XR Shipley & Bradford, Shipley Town Council, Shipley Ward and Shipley Constituency Labour Party, Green Party Shipley, Keighley and Shipley Liberal Democrats. All three Shipley councillors to Bradford District Council (Jenkins, Love and Warnes) support the Alliance.

The new Bradford Local Plan – how is it connected to this traffic scheme?

Bradford Council published its draft Local Plan for the whole district in early February. It divides the District up into area mini-plans, including for the ‘Canal Road Corridor’, ‘Shipley’, and ‘Bradford North-West’ which includes Manningham Lane and Keighley Road. Much of the public discussion will be about where new housing should be built, but the plan also covers transport and the environment.

The draft Local Plan says that Canal Road / Valley Road ‘would become a streamlined high capacity route’ (Section 5.6.15). Responses to the consultation are required by 24th March. BSTA will consider how to further our concerns about air quality and climate through this consultation.

You can read each section of the draft Local Plan at On that same page are invitations to Zoom consultations on the broad policies in the plan, including Transport, the Environment and Housing. They are all from 1st to 12th March, and you have to register.

Mayoral candidates ask for input to their manifestos

Express your views to candidates hoping to be elected as the new West Yorkshire Mayor on May 6th.  They will want your vote! The Mayor will have control over transport and environmental policy, managing what is now the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Tell them you want to support transport which is consistent with the urgency of the climate crisis.

Bob Buxton stands for The Yorkshire Party, Facebook here.

Andrew Cooper stands for the Green Party, Blogs here.

Stewart Golton stands for the Liberal Democrats. Facebook here.

Tracy Brabin (Labour’s candidate) has specifically asked for your input here:, including on the environment and transport.

Matthew Robinson stands for the Conservative Party. Twitter here.

Other candidates may be available but have not been declared yet.

West Yorkshire climate campaigning groups are collaborating to put pressure on every candidate to strengthen their commitment to ensuring that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority treats the climate emergency seriously. It aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2038 with significant progress by 2030, but its implementation of the major changes needed is exceedingly hard to see so far.

Leeds Bradford Airport: close the gap between climate and transport policies.

It is difficult to credit the irresponsibility of the nine Leeds Councillors who approved an extension to flights at Leeds Bradford airport on 11th February. Five others voted against. The decision, if not overturned, goes against the government Climate Change Committee’s advice not to increase flights in the UK AND the West Yorkshire Combined Authority commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2038. Leeds City Council has not only signed up for this but has gone even further in aiming for net-zero by 2030.

It seems these nine were persuaded by businesses who painted a gloomy future for Yorkshire entrepreneurs without an expanded airport, and decided to vote instead for a gloomy future for everyone. As the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport says, this is not the end of the story. Hopefully the idea of prosperity based on sustainability gets a better hold among businesses and councillors alike. Which word in ‘Climate emergency’ do they not understand?

The only remaining public consultation is delayed, now due in summer 2021

The Bradford-Shipley scheme has funding of £48m approved by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, for which Bradford Council is preparing a ‘Full Business Case’. It consulted in summer 2020 on its proposals for the A650 (Manningham Lane and Keighley Road up to the Branch).

Consultation on the rest of the scheme, the A6037 (Canal Road, Valley Road, and Otley Road in Shipley) was delayed from the Autumn to January and now until ‘the summer’. Apart from any legal proceedings about compulsory purchases or changes to highway rights of way, this will be the last formal approach from the Council to the communities affected, and will give detailed plans for that route which are expected to include dual carriageway throughout.

To read more about the plan and concerns that have been expressed, you may like to read Clean Air Bradford’s concerns here (, Shipley Labour Party’s comprehensive report on the scheme here (, and view the documents associated with the scheme here (

What are the scheme’s aims?

The publicised aims of the Bradford-Shipley road scheme are to ‘green’ Manningham Lane, introduce a 20 mph speed limit there, add bicycle lanes to encourage a move from the car, move traffic to Canal Road and Valley Road, and reduce congestion.

However, the scheme’s original aim in 2012 was to create economic growth through inward investment, by increasing the capacity of the road system. This aim is still there, though relegated to appendices in more recent reports going to Councillors and public consultation. More traffic along Canal and Valley Roads will add further pressure to the existing bottleneck at Shipley, threatening to increase rather than decrease congestion and pushing up already extreme pollution levels recorded along the road. So, just what ARE the aims of this scheme?

The Bradford Shipley Travel Alliance will be repeating a request to West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford Council to be explicit about the scheme’s aims, and to provide a Benefits Realisation Plan which is required but has not yet been seen.

The conflicting aims and lack of key evidence are identified in points j to s in

Shipley Town Council joins the Alliance

The Alliance now has 9 members, the ninth being Shipley Town Council which has unanimously voted to join us. That’s not so surprising as the Town Council has already made known their serious concerns about the impact of a new road from Bradford to Shipley on air quality and safety in Shipley itself. Thank you, Councillors.

Shipley Town Council Planning and Regeneration Committee 9th February 2021: Agenda