Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Cycling: Sustrans

We are a leading charity enabling people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys.

Calling on government to create child-friendly communities
by Malcolm Shepherd, 26 April 2013
Westminster can be a stern place, but it was made a lot brighter this morning! It was great fun to join TV presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff and pupils... [see report below]

by Jason Torrance, 24 April 2013
Today saw the publication of two landmark reports on cycling and physical activity. Both provide a unique opportunity for the world of cycling and...

by Ben Addy, 17 March 2013
I remember the journey to school as plain fun – an adventure at the start of every day. My trip to school was a fifteen minute walk during which my...

by German Dector-Vega, 18 March 2013
The Mayor of London's proposal to only allow zero and low-emission vehicles into Central London is an exciting idea that has the potential to change...

10,617 people demand safer roads for children

26 April 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron has today received a petition signed by more than 10,000 concerned parents, calling on the government to make roads safer for children, as part of charity Sustrans’ Free Range Kids campaign.
Sustrans’ Chief Executive, Malcolm Shepherd joined One Show presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff and two pupils from Westminster Cathedral School to hand in the petition to Downing Street.
Britain continues to have one of the worst road safety records in Europe for child pedestrians. 
The Free Range Kids campaign called for the introduction of 20mph speed limits in residential areas and increased investment in safe routes to make it easier for young people to walk and cycle around their local area.
Malcolm Shepherd Sustrans’ Chief Executive said:
“People long for the days when the streets were filled with kids playing and we all had the opportunity to walk and cycle to school.
“Our streets should be safe, pleasant places where people can socialise, kids can play and where we all can spend time outside the four walls of our home.
“We need slower speed limits and safer walking and cycling routes so our kids can travel to school by bike or on foot and start to build healthy habits for a lifetime.”

Sustrans calls for full implementation of MPs’ 'Get Britain Cycling' report
24 April 2013

Responding to the publication of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling’s report, Get Britain Cycling, Sustrans’ Policy Director, Jason Torrance, said:
“The urgent action needed to Get Britain Cycling and the remarkable benefits of doing so are now clearer than ever.
“We now need leadership from the heart of government and co-operation by every department to implement these recommendations in full, helping to create a healthier, happier, more prosperous nation.
“Simple steps like putting cycling in the national curricula and fully considering bikes in planning decisions are vital to making sure people of all ages can cycle with confidence to work and the shops or to socialise.”
The report is available for download at http://allpartycycling.org

Sustrans | Join the movement

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Centre for Alternative Technology

What is 'Sustainability'? 
This morning, Sue MacGregor talks to the founders of the Centre for Alternative Technology, in the Reunion on Radio 4. 
This was 40 years ago. Is it relevant to today?

The Centre for Alternative Technology

Sue MacGregor reunites the pioneers behind The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), the radical community that launched the Green Movement in Britain from a disused slate quarry in Machynlleth, Wales.
Led by an entrepreneurial aristocrat turned environmentalist, a group of self-declared 'Crazy Idealists' arrived at 'The Quarry' in 1973 with an urgent mission. The limits to growth and resources had been forecast, the nuclear threat was real, and fundamentally new ways of living had to be found that were more self-sufficient, locally-focused, and alternative to the assumptions of modern industrial society.
From humble beginnings as a tiny commune sidelined by the scientific establishment, CAT went on to build some of Britain's first ever electricity generating windmills and the largest solar roof in Europe. They attracted the patronage of the royal family, the suspicions and support of their local Welsh neighbours, and the interest of tens of thousands of visitors. Forty years on, the alternatives that CAT pioneered are becoming mainstream, and the Centre's work is more relevant than ever.
Joining Sue MacGregor are: Mark Matthews, the Centre's first director; architect Roderick James, who designed the first complex of buildings; Bob Todd, the Centre's pioneering technical expert; Liz Todd, Bob's wife and an early volunteer, who raised her young family on the site; and Des Rees, the Welsh builder who unexpectedly found himself immersed in The Quarry's unique way of life.
First broadcast: Sunday 28 April 2013

Centre for Alternative Technology Home Page

Centre or Alternative Technology - Peter Harper from dobraidea on Vimeo.

Zero Carbon Britain

Centre for Alternative Technology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alternative technology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

District Council signs up to Sustainable Communities Act

The East Devon District Council has announced that it now committed to the Sustainable Communities Act:
EDDC signs up to Sustainable Communities Act | Devon Local News

EDDC signs up to Sustainable Communities Act

Friday 19 April
East Devon District Council is committed to taking up the opportunities offered by the Sustainable Communities Act.
Although councils do not have a legal duty to support the Act, EDDC has chosen to do so, as it did in 2009, and it is now looking for residents’ help in putting forward proposals for action to central Government.
The Sustainable Communities Act aims to divert power and funding from central government and passes it to councils and local people, giving them a new opportunity to improve their local communities.
Ideas about what government could change to help communities be more sustainable may be submitted by anyone, but they must fit three criteria:
1.They must improve the ‘sustainability’ of the local community. Sustainability can cover anything which improves the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area; or promotes participation in civic or political activity. The Act aims to encourage a broad range of ideas.
2.They must require action from central government, such as a change in legislation; a transfer of responsibilities from one public body to another; a new national policy; or a change or strengthening of an existing policy.
3.They must be based within, or of specific relevance to, communities in East Devon.
Anyone can submit proposals - whether you are an individual, voluntary or community group or other organisation.
To find out more, or to submit your proposals visit the Council’s website at: www.eastdevon.gov.uk/sustainablecommunitiesact or you can phone the Community Engagement and Funding Officer on (01395) 517569 to ask for a paper copy of the proposal form to be posted out to you.
All your proposals should be submitted by Friday 18 October 2013. The proposals will then go to a panel of local people to be discussed and short-listed. The short-list will be discussed by one of the Council’s committees before being forwarded onto national Government, who decide which proposals will be implemented.
For further press information please contact the Council’s Press Office on:
01395 517 559, communications@eastdevon.gov.uk
East Devon District Council, Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 8HL
Page last updated on 19 April 2013

To submit proposals on building sustainable communities:
East Devon District Council - Sustainable Communities Act Form

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Cycling: Torbay and Plymouth

In February it was announced that Devon towns will be receiving substantial central government funds to build cycling infrastructure.

Barbican and Plymouth waterfront to get £670,000 bike-friendly revamp

Monday, February 11, 2013
By CARL EVE Herald Reporter

THE city waterfront is to get a £670,000 boost to turn it into a bike friendly attraction.
The aim is to breathe new life into key locations along the shore including Commercial Wharf on the historic Barbican which will become a destination in its own right.

Barbican and Plymouth waterfront to get £670,000 bike-friendly revamp

Under the bid, empty fisherman's storage arches will be refurbished to enable small businesses to set up shops or cafes and encourage people to visit a part of the Waterfront they may have just walked past before.
There are also plans to build on Plymouth's growing reputation as a bike-friendly city, by including space for cycle hubs for bike hire – both in Commercial Wharf and the Royal William Yard.
The bid is not just about providing hire space, but also outlines plans to improve cycling paths and racks along the waterfront to link the Barbican, the Hoe, Tinside Pool, Millbay and Royal William Yard.
The £670,400 funding boost follows a bid by Plymouth City Council to the Coastal Communities Fund.
Council leader Tudor Evans, whose portfolio includes economic development, said the council's bid was "pretty imaginative" and the money from the fund highlighted how "creative" the ideas were.
He said: "Plymouth has natural assets that most cities would kill to have.
"This bid plans to bring to life areas on the waterfront that have been too quiet for too long. Commercial Wharf was once a bustling location – it will be again.
"I'm also really excited about the opportunities for cycling tourists. Knowing how popular cycling trails such as the Tarka are, this is a great chance for us to attract families as well as couples and individuals to get on their bikes.

And in TORBAY:

Torbay gets £1.4m from Coastal Communities Fund

11 February 2013 


Torbay is getting more than £1.4m to help revive its struggling economy.
The money is among four handouts from the government's Coastal Communities Fund for seaside areas. Other beneficiaries include South Hams District Council, which will receive £450,347. Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust will get £150,000, while Plymouth City Council will receive £670,400. In Torbay, which has the highest unemployment rate in Devon, the money is expected to create 350 jobs.
The Coastal Communities Fund was created in 2012 with money from the Crown Estates marine assets.The Crown Estate, which owns the rights to the sites of fish farms, renewable energy developments, ports and marinas, earns about £7bn a year which is paid to the Treasury.
Torbay's share, which followed a bid by Torbay Development Agency, will support the development of start-up businesses, social enterprises and an apprenticeship scheme and a new cycle route around Cockington.
Plymouth also hopes to build more cycle lanes, linking the Barbican, the Hoe and the Royal William Yard.


Supporting economic development projects in coastal and seaside areas
The Coastal Communities Fund is funded by the government from income from the Crown Estate’s marine assets. Funding is available in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Fund is managed in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘BIG Fund’.
For 2013 to 2014 the total budget available for the Fund in England is £21.7 million. Invitations to bid for 2013 were announced in April 2013.

On 11 February 2013 the secretary of state announced the final group of successful bidders in 2012 to 2013. Together they will:
> create almost 4,000 new jobs directly or indirectly
> support 250 new business start-ups
> create over 1,500 training places or apprenticeships
> create over 400 volunteering opportunities
> generate an anticipated extra £15.5 million of wider financial support
The successful bidders [in Devon] are:
> Plymouth City Council, Devon: £670,400 to support the regeneration of Plymouth’s Waterfront by providing cycle hire hubs and cycle route improvements and create 4 full-time direct and 52 indirect jobs
> Torbay Council, Torbay, Devon: £1,385,656 to support the development of start-up and home-based businesses, social enterprises, an apprenticeship scheme, and new green tourism infrastructure and create 280 direct and 42 indirect jobs

Which hasn't escaped the notice of the Sidmouth Independent News blog:
With a reference to the bigger picture:

Friday, 26 April 2013

Cycling: Bristol & Bath Railway Path

A very successful project has been the Bristol to Bath cycle way, built on the former railway track:

Bath resident and cyclist Paul Stephens has created a virtual journey of the Path on his own website, Paul's Pages.
The Bath - Bristol Cycle Path at www.paulspages.co.uk

The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is a 15-mile (24 km) off-road cycleway, part of National Cycle NetworkNational Cycle Route 4. It has a 3-metre (9.8 ft) wide tarmacked surface, and was used for 2.4 million trips in 2007, increasing by 10% per year.[1]
Bristol and Bath Railway Path - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Bristol Bath Railway Path

The Bristol to Bath Railway Path provides a tranquil walking and cycling path between the two cities... This was Sustrans flagship walking and cycling path completed in the mid 80s and largely constructed through a youth employment scheme and many volunteers.

Bristol's Railway Path is becoming a victim of its own success

Building more quality safe space for cyclists along main routes will prevent them all crowding onto one path
Bike blog : Bristol Railway Path
Bristol Railway Path is the oldest 15 miles of the National Cycle Network. Photograph: Joe Dunckley

"If you build it they will come" has not always been true of the great British cycling facility. The bafflingly inappropriate pavements, muddy tracks and steps are usually no more attractive than riding on busy roads with fast cars and big trucks.
But the oldest 15 miles of the National Cycle Network prove that if you build it to a sufficient quality they really will come, and they will passionately defend it when it is under attack. The Bristol and Bath path, built in the 1980s on a disused railway between the neighbouring West Country cities, is a rare example of a truly successful British cycle route – sometimes, as in Copenhagen, too successful. Recently upgraded with Bristol's "Cycling City" money, the success of the path can be seen on any weekday morning, even deep in November.
Steve Loughran, a campaigner in Bristol, explains why the path makes such a good cycle route:
"It's direct and sustained from the edge of the city right into the centre at Temple Meads station, never abandoning you at difficult junctions or unfamiliar streets. It's in cuttings and embankments so you aren't interrupted by busy crossroads, and there aren't any trucks passing too close or parked cars blocking your lane."
The Railway Path would not meet modern Dutch cycle path standards, with a mere three metre-wide asphalt surface, and with people on foot and on bicycles sharing that limited space. Even so, in terms of getting people on their bikes, it has worked where promoting riding in urban traffic has not: Sustrans says that this summer the path carried 3,000 cycle journeys per day and even more journeys on foot, with usage growing by 10% every year.
While cycling on Britain's roads is now largely limited to commuter transport – and disproportionately for the young adult male – the Railway Path attracts a healthy mix of users and uses – commuters, shoppers, and parents and children on the school run.
But I think the solution to the Railway Path's overpopularity lies away from the path itself. Its directness, continuity and calm are a great pull, but there is also the powerful push of dangerous and uncomfortable roads. It was built and they came; build more quality safe space for cycling, on all the main routes, and perhaps then they won't all come to this one place.
• Joe Dunckley is a freelance writer and supporter of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Cycling: Bristol

Today, The Times also featured Bristol which was designated a 'Cycling City' in 2008:

Bristol rides high by scouring world for cycle friendly ideas

 Cyclists on the Two-tunnels greenway cycle path tunnel
Cyclists on the two-tunnels greenway cycle path tunnel
Gareth Iwan Jones 

Simon de BruxellesApril 24 2013

Had Bristol had been designed for cyclists it would probably not have so many hills, but nonetheless it has managed to persuade a significant number of people to take to two wheels. The number of cyclists using the city’s roads more than doubled in the decade from 2001 to 2011.

The good news for Bristol’s cyclists is that they have a mayor who does not regard them as nuisances who deprive cars and lorries of road space. George Ferguson, who became Bristol’s first directly elected mayor in November, has visited Amsterdam and Copenhagen to see how they sustain large numbers of cyclists without squeezing them out or running them over.

Yesterday he launched an initiative under which cars are banned from a part of the city centre on one Sunday a month during the summer. Pedestrians, cyclists, and skate boarders will take precedence. He publicised the Make Sunday Special scheme by hitching a lift on a piano converted into a bicycle and riding across one of Bristol’s bridges while its owner, Oliver Cumming, bashed out a tune and pedalled.

The Make Sunday Special initiative, the first in Britain, is emulating similar experiments in Bogot√°, Colombia, and Bordeaux to give streets originally built for people, back to people.

BRISTOL is quite a place for cycling:
Cycling | Bristol City Council
Cycling Bristol | Better By Bike
Bristol Cycle Festival | Bristol's Community Organised Bike Festival
Keep Sunday Special
Streets Close To Make Sunday Special - Heart Bristol News

Cycling: national policy outlined

The Times has started the "Cities fit for cycling campaign" in the wake of one of their journalists being seriously injured whilst cycling in London: The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion

Start a cycling revolution — and save lives and money, MPs urge
Philip Pank and Kaya Burgess: Last updated at 12:02AM, April 24 2013

Cyclists cross Westminster bridge with Parliament in the background

David Cameron is being urged to start a cycling revolution as a cross-party group of MPs and peers calls for the transformation of Britain’s streets.

The recommendations come after a four-month parliamentary inquiry, inspired by The Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, into how to encourage more cycling and to protect those on the roads.

The inquiry’s proposals include:
• A default 20mph speed limit on residential streets.
• Access for all schoolchildren to cycle training.
• Better road surfaces and junctions.
• Widespread segregated cycle routes.
• Improved lorry design and driver training.
• Stricter enforcement of road traffic law.
The inquiry report also calls for an increase in funding on cycle infrastructure to £10 a head. 

petition has been set up on the Government site calling on the Prime Minister to implement the recommendations in the report.

Health and Transport ministers say that they are trying to encourage more cycling as a way of reducing congestion, cutting pollution and helping beat an obesity epidemic that costs the NHS £5 billion a year.

Martin Gibbs, policy director at British Cycling, said: “The Prime Minister is a good friend of cycling and cycles himself. With his backing we can apply the focus we used to turn ourselves into a leading cycle sport nation to embed cycling across the whole of society so that it becomes a normal everyday choice which appeals to everyone.”

And other national newspapers have taken up the story:

MPs spell out Britain's bold cycling future

All-party cycling group gives a template to increase cycling levels ten-fold. But is there the political boldness to do it?

Cyclists commuting in London
Cyclists commuting in London. Photograph: Antonio Olmos

So, after three months of worksix evidence sessions and thousands of words of speculation, not least from me, we finally have a report.
On immediate glance – and at time of writing I've only seen the summary, not the full thing – the conclusions of the Get Britain Cycling inquiry, set up by the all-party parliamentary cycling group (APPCG), could hardly make more sense.
Oddly, the one thing that gives me hope comes in the curious form of Cameron's Eton and Oxford contemporary, and supposed political nemesis, Boris Johnson.
I was sceptical when Johnson talked of a cycling masterplan for London. But then I was amazed when I saw the boldness and scope of his eventual proposals, and the vigor with which he backed them.
Johnson's actions show we can be surprised, and they also offer a useful template for Cameron. You could even argue that such is the rivalry between the pair that the prime minister might be half-tempted to show he can be audacious, too.
Maybe not, but here's hoping.
Whatever happens, all credit to Julian Huppert, his co-chair Ian Austin, the other APPCG members, and of course the Times. It provided much of the impetus for the inquiry, largely funded it and has promised to harry Cameron until he signs up to its recommendations. Good for them.

MPs call for investment in cycling

A man cycling to work and carrying a briefcase
©Sophie Elgort
April 24, 2013 10:20 am
By Mark Odell, Transport Correspondent

Ministers are in danger of “squandering the Olympic legacy and failing to create a healthier and more active” society if the government does not act now to promote cycling, according to a parliamentary committee.
The report by a cross-party committee of MPs and peers said the success of British cyclists at last year’s Olympic Games and the Tour de France “helped cycling catch the public’s attention” but warns that to sustain that interest, the government needs to act to improve safety by changing road layouts, incorporate cycling into road planning and educating children and drivers.
In London, Boris Johnson, the mayor, has said he will boost spending on cycling to £12.50 per head, and there are now twice as many cyclists in the city as there were in 2000. The introduction of a congestion zone that motor traffic must pay to enter in central London and efforts by many of the capital’s boroughs to discourage car use, has seen more people take to bikes in the capital, although safety, as elsewhere in the country, is still a big concern.