Charnwood Core Strategy
Charnwood Borough Council has recently published its proposed Core Strategy which includes plans to build up to 3,500 houses on the Garendon Green Wedge. This will mean building over part of the National Cycle Network Route 6 from Shepshed to Dishley through the Garendon Estate. The Garendon Park & Countryside Protection Group (GPCPG - www.garendon.org.uk) has been opposing such plans for many years, but if the Core Strategy goes through then the Garendon Green Wedge will be suburbanised and the listed Garendon Park compromised by roads, infrastructure and signage – not to mention heavy construction vehicles traversing the area for many years.
Part of the submission relating to transport that GPCPG will be making to the Consultation on the Core Strategy (from 10th June until 22nd July 2013) can be found at http://goo.gl/4a2sS. If you object to these proposals you can sign their petition on the website and join GPCPG.
County Council Elections
Before the County Council Elections new member Kevin Dakin circulated a questionnaire asking the Loughborough Candidates about their thoughts on cycling. You can read the responses received at http://goo.gl/jDroU. The number of replies was disappointing, but some did demonstrate that we have a long way to go if we are to achieve a cycling culture in this country as seen in say the Netherlands or Denmark.
The responses included comments such as:
- “Healthy and preferable wherever cycle ways exist. Somewhat concerned over mixing pedestrians and cyclists in spaces – both can be thoughtless to each other at times. My main support comes on grounds of health, fitness, and lowering pollution levels.”
- “The cycle routes in and around Loughborough town centre seem adequate, and keep cyclists and cars separate. Although I do have concerns about the safety of pedestrians. I do not cycle myself so cannot comment on ease of use.”
- “I think cycling is good for fitness, but do not believe it is a solution for over-crowded roads and high car usage.”
Unfortunately the last response is probable representative of many politicians. It begs the question – What is the solution for over-crowded roads and high car usage? Public transport by itself cannot provide an adequate solution.
Huhne condemned for lesser crime
Former Government minister and Liberal Democrat luminary, Chris Huhne, was jailed for perverting the course of justice. Jenny Jones, writing for the Independent online (11 March 2013), has pointed out that had he been caught breaking other rules or laws, he would have almost certainly felt obliged to take the blame straight away.
Ms Jones declared: "The rules on our lawless roads are clear, signposted and widely ignored. Speeding kills and casualties are rising, but the police won’t enforce 20mph limits in residential areas and safety cameras are regularly vandalised as an infringement of our civil liberties. Try driving at or below the legal speed limit and see how often you are flashed, honked, tail-gated or dangerously overtaken.
It is a crime so regular and widespread that apart from individual fatalities reported in local papers, it is hardly remarked upon. People apply different rules when they get behind a steering wheel and politicians do the same.
The most ironic thing about the scandal of Chris Huhne’s points is that if he had put in a special plea to the local magistrate he might not have been disqualified at all. Such is the failure of our society to take road deaths and injuries seriously, tens of thousands of people are legally allowed to drive around with more than 12 points."
'Get Britain Cycling' Petition
60,000 people have signed an e-petition calling on the Prime Minister to implement the recommendations of the 'Get Britain Cycling' All Party Parliamentary report, which was released in April. The report was the result of the 'Get Britain Cycling' inquiry, chaired by a cross-party panel of MPs and peers.
Jon Snow (CTC President) who gave evidence to the inquiry in March, arguing that the Government needed to do far, far more to improve conditions for cyclists, is urging cyclists to take a couple of minutes to sign up to the HM Government e-petition ( http://goo.gl/dHyLw ) and make their voices heard - 100,000 are needed for a debate in Parliament on the subject to be held. The report calls for 10% of trips to be made by bike by 2025 and 25% by 2050, with £10 per person per year spend on cycling.
Air Ambulance Recycling
The Air Ambulance Service is launching the latest in its line of successful recycling initiatives with 'The Bike Place' which will revamp and recycle pre-loved bicycles, customizing them to suit the individual's choice, creating one-off bespoke bikes and adapting machines for those with a special need.
The scheme is being launched by Roger Lovell, formerly of Leicester based Cyclemagic, a not-for-profit organisation which ran a similar type of service for 13 years before closing in July 2012.
Roger says: "I'm delighted to be working with The Air Ambulance Service to get this incredibly worthwhile scheme up and running. Not only will we be providing bespoke bicycles to people all over the country, we will also be raising money that will help save lives. Sales from our specialist and adapted bikes will go directly to the Charity, which receives no Government or National Lottery funding, to help fund the three valuable services they run.
"We'll also be promoting the benefits of cycling for people's health, environment and welfare through events and community outreach programmes so we really will be helping a wide breadth of people across the country."
The Bike Place will be based at The Air Ambulance Service's warehouse in Kegworth, and will launch on 15th June. The Charity is now urging people to donate their unwanted bicycles prior to the launch and is hoping to have 100 donated by June. If you have a bike that you want to donate or if you'd like to find out more, please call 09454 130 999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The HEAT is on cycling
HEAT is a World Health Organisation online resource to estimate the economic savings resulting from reductions in mortality as a consequence of regular cycling and/or walking. It is based on best available evidence, with parameters that can be adapted to fit specific situations. Default parameters are valid for the European context.
The system calculates the answer to the following question: if x people cycle or walk y distance on most days, what is the economic value of mortality rate improvements? You can find the calculator and more information on this at http://goo.gl/DYNT0 .
Cycle City Birmingham Expo Presentations
The presentations from this ground breaking new conference and exhibition (held in April) aimed at all those working to encourage Dutch levels of cycling in Britain can be viewed at http://goo.gl/Sg3MU .
The true costs of automobility
External costs of cars (Prof. Dr. Ing. Udo J. Becker, University of Dresden)
- Every car in Europe produces external costs equivalent to 1,600 Euros (on average) annually in noise, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and accidents (not covered by liability insurance).
- For the EU-27, the overall sum of uncovered costs related to car use is roughly the equivalent to 3.0 % of the EU’s GDP or the GDP of Belgium.
- On average, every EU citizen pays € 750 of subsidies per year.
- 41 % of these external costs are due to accidents and 37 % to climate change. The remaining 22 % are shared between air pollution, noise and other effects.
Money down holes
The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s latest Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2013 discovered that:
- There’s a £829m annual funding shortfall for road maintenance (England and London); and a £6.2m annual budget shortfall (per English authority)
- 1 in 5 roads have a residual life of less than 5 years
- It will take 12 years to clear the backlog in England
- Road user compensation claims cost councils £32m in the last year
- 2.2m potholes were filled across England & Wales, at a total spend of £113m.