Cycle Campaigns News: November 2022
It’s the start of Advent, a season of light, and in this month’s Campaigns News we’ve shone our light both literally – on London landmarks – and metaphorically – on plans, policy proposals and public participation.
“A candle is a protest at midnight. It is a non-conformist. It says to the darkness, ‘I beg to differ,’” Samuel Rayan RT.
Trim your wick and read on for November’s offerings.
Stephen Dominy, Campaigns News editor
World COP: It’s coming home
As the global media spotlight moves on from the UN Climate Conference in Egypt, national negotiators return to their home countries and seek to change their governments’ policies. Domestic transport is the UK’s biggest polluting sector, accounting for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.
In advance of the global day of action for the climate, Cycling UK lit up London to highlight the role that cycling can play in fighting climate change. On 12 November Cycling UK staff and members joined demonstrations across the country.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “We can fight climate change without having to reinvent the wheel. Transport is one of our biggest polluters, but with so many of our shorter journeys easily cycled or walked, one of the simple, cheap and sustainable solutions is to make cycling easier and more accessible for more people.”
Cycling UK has updated and re-issued its climate change briefing The case for cycling: tackling climate change, in which it suggests that national and local government capitalise on the high level of support for reducing car dependency for the sake of the environment.
It identifies five main mechanisms that governments can employ to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from road transport and encourage and enable zero-carbon travel:
- Evidence-based targets to halt and reverse the growth of motorised road traffic
- Fuel duty
- Road-pricing measures
- Workplace parking levies
- Changes to the planning system so that planning applications can be rejected on grounds of their impact on greenhouse gas emissions
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which includes various planning reforms for England, is currently being debated in Westminster.
Cycling UK and 28 other organisations have come together under the umbrella of the Better Planning Coalition (BPC), working with MPs to improve the Bill through various amendments. The coalition’s members are united by a common goal: a planning system fit for people, nature and the climate.
Cycling UK is asking MPs to support three BPC-backed amendments which reflect two elements of this goal, namely the need for developments to be planned, and for planning policies and decisions:
- To address the climate crisis – from an active-travel perspective, this means ensuring that the location of new development supports active travel and public transport, as well as ensuring that the design of road and path networks support cycling and walking, including high-quality facilities specifically for active travel (including cycle parking) within and around the development.
- To benefit people’s health and wellbeing – this includes provision of good walking and cycling networks, as well as access to nature, both within and around the new developments.
New research reveals discontent with current UK cycling infrastructure
Almost 75% of the UK population feels that there hasn’t been any improvement in cycling infrastructure in the last year according to new research, conducted by Shimano. Despite a large increase in cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic due to quieter roads and a desire to avoid traffic, just 27% of people in the UK feel that improvements have been made in their local area to ensure safety for cyclists.
Campaign win: Natural England to consider opening next National Trail to horse riders and cyclists
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Natural England are to reconsult on plans for the new National Trail, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast trail, which could make it accessible for people cycling and horse riding, after Cycling UK and The British Horse Society (BHS) threatened legal action.
Natural England and Defra failed to consult with Cycling UK and the BHS during the initial consultation phase of the new National Trail. This is despite both organisations being prescribed outdoor user groups which should be consulted on changes to rights of way.
Duncan Dollimore commented: “Cycling UK and the BHS are relieved the government has now recognised the concerns our organisations raised about the exclusion of outdoor enthusiasts we represent from a new National Trail.”
Transport charity finds £20bn to plug Treasury black hole
A green shake-up of transport priorities could save the country almost £20bn, cutting the entire budget deficit by half, Campaign for Better Transport has revealed.
The transport charity has shown how:
- Cancelling just five road-building schemes could save £16bn
- Taxing fuel for domestic flights, not including lifeline flights such as those to Scottish islands, could raise £0.6bn
- Introducing a pay-as-you-drive scheme which charges electric vehicles a small amount per mile from 2025 could raise £0.6bn
- Not renewing the temporary cut to fuel duty when it ends in March 2023 could save £2.4bn
New Scottish cycling strategy
Transport Scotland has launched a consultation on its a draft Cycling Framework and Delivery Plan for Active Travel in Scotland 2022-2030. Cycling UK is encouraging people to respond to the strategy which specifically aims to boost transport cycling (everyday cycling) for short local journeys.
Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager in Scotland, said: “We applaud the Scottish Government for a producing a positive new strategy aimed at creating safe cycling infrastructure, and thereby removing the biggest barrier to everyday cycling.
“We are especially keen for supporters to follow our guide and call for the following: the inclusion of a target for the creation of cycling infrastructure, strong guidance to local authorities for developing active travel strategies, and more specific actions to create the safe cycling network we need throughout Scotland.”
The Scottish Government’s consultation page provides links to supporting documents and the online response form. The consultation closes on 19 December 2022.
Welsh transport strategy will not tread a new path
Following detailed analysis from policy volunteers and staff, Cycling UK has submitted its response to the Welsh Government’s consultation on the draft National Transport Delivery Plan – Llwybr Newydd.
Cherry Allen explains in detail what Cycling UK thinks in an engaging blog on the organisation’s website.
She says: “Broadly speaking, Cycling UK and its expert campaigning volunteers in Wales liked the draft and, although not every recommendation of ours made it into the final version (March 2021), the charity welcomed much of it, especially its core imperative to place ‘people and climate change at the front and centre of our transport system’.”
However, Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK engagement officer in Wales, expresses reservations that the strategy will not do the job it needs to. “Despite Llwybr Newydd’s promise, the draft Delivery Plan does not inspire confidence that Welsh Government will actually deliver.
“There needs to be definition and timescales, and Cycling UK hopes that the Government will be shocked into changing the draft, realising that it currently does nothing to address its own targets on greenhouse gas emissions.”
Visionary alliance for Greater Cambridge
Cambridge Living Streets, Camcycle and Cambridge Area Bus Users have launched the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance. Their aim is to unite and inspire people working for a transport network that protects our future and offers genuine choice.
Formed in response to a consultation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership for a Sustainable Travel Zone (Road User Charge), they are encouraging and guiding local residents to respond. In particular, they are urging local residents to respond in support of the Sustainable Travel Zone in question 9 of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s current consultation.
Camcycle’s executive director, Roxanne De Beaux, said: “A recent survey showed that 88% of our members support the principle of a Sustainable Travel Zone for Cambridge, which could be transformative for people in the area. They want local authorities to create a greener, healthier and more pleasant city to live and work in.
It is vital that high-quality sustainable transport networks are put in place over the next few years. We’re proud to join voices with Cambridge Living Streets and Cambridge Area Bus Users to create an alliance which will speak up and work for the positive changes we need on our streets.”
Mass rides and campaigning kids
In the past few weeks there has been increasing interest in mass campaigning rides involving children. Cycling UK’s Cycle Advocacy Network (CAN) hosted an online gathering in November with speakers including Kat Heath from Kidical Mass Reading, and Ewen Maclean and Emily Farquar from Blackford Bike Bus in Edinburgh.
Meanwhile, Andrew McClean, Cycling UK’s engagement officer for Northern Ireland, has summarised the knowledge passed on by the North Belfast Cycle Campaign Group at the ever first ‘cycle campaigners social’.
Yes, we CAN
Want to get involved with local campaigning in your area and connect with others across the country?
Don’t let Police Scotland scrap new dashcam safety portal
A vital new Police Scotland road safety tool allowing cyclists and responsible road users to upload camera footage of irresponsible driving is under threat. Use our new e-action to ask the Chief Constable to save it from being axed – closing date: 9 December.
England needs a planning system which works for people, nature and the climate. We’ve got one which designs for car dependency and plans for poor health. Help us make planning pedal powered. Write to your MP today using our online action, asking them to support these amendments to the Bill.
Cycling Framework for Scotland
The Scottish Government wants your views on a Cycling Framework and Delivery Plan for Active Travel. This follows the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland which ended in 2020. Cycling UK aims to provide a guide to responding to this consultation in the coming weeks.
Call for safe cycling and walking and reliable buses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
Greater Cambridge Partnership is consulting on the introduction of a sustainable travel zone. The Cambridge Travel Alliance has been formed to encourage people in the area to have their say, and to inform the conversation.
Call for new housing to be cycle friendly
Cycling UK is concerned that the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill risks missing vital opportunities to create a planning system that provides genuinely affordable housing as well as protecting the climate, nature and our future prosperity. Cycling UK is therefore calling on members and supporters to write to your MP.
Glasffordd Môn – proposal for a green corridor for walking, cycling and wildlife on Ynys Môn
The Glasffordd Môn Steering Group is asking the public for their views on an ambitious plan to develop a green corridor for walking, cycling and wildlife on Ynys Môn. The vision is to connect Newborough in the south to Amlwch in the north by creating a long-distance route linking communities along the way.
Holyhead station improvement proposals
Currently, the Holyhead station scheme is going through WelTAG Stage 2 (Outline Business Case). The project team has arrived at a list of options to proceed with. This is your opportunity to comment on those proposals.
Research and recover lost rights of way
There are thousands of historical rights of way were recorded incorrectly when councils were compiling their official maps in the 1950s. However, the public’s right to ride on them still exists. It hasn’t just disappeared because they’ve been marked incorrectly on a map. Discover and recover lost rights of way near you.
Influence your union to campaign for active travel
Read (and be inspired by) Jill's story and then work out how you can use her proposal to the National Education Union as a starting point in your own union or professional body.
Surgery session: December – Cycle Advocacy Network – Thursday 15 December, 4.30-5.30pm
This is an opportunity for you to have a one-to-one consultation online with Cycling UK campaigns team staff. If you have either a specific question you’d like to discuss or a more general area you’d like guidance on how to proceed with then this could be for you.